25.11.2011: Survey ignores crucial facts on abortion, says PLC

25.11.2011: Survey ignores crucial facts on abortion, says PLC

25th November 2011

A new survey which claims that over half of Irish GPs favour legal abortion “fails to take account of key facts,” the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has said.

The survey, carried out by Dr Mark Murphy from Sligo claims to have found that slightly more than 50% of doctors believe a termination of pregnancy “should be available to a woman who chooses” it. Dr Murphy wrote to 500 established GPs and 250 GPs in training. There was a 44% response rate.

Responding to the poll, spokesperson Dr Ruth Cullen, said that the survey “failed to take account of key facts and distinctions”.

Dr Cullen said: “Crucially, the survey ignores the vital ethical distinction between necessary medical interventions in pregnancy and abortion which intentionally ends the life of the baby.

“For this reason alone, the survey sheds no new light on the abortion debate.”

She also pointed out that Dr Murphy’s survey continuously uses the expression “termination of pregnancy” throughout.

Dr Cullen continued: “It is important to note that not all terminations are induced abortions. Birth is a termination of pregnancy as are necessary early deliveries where the baby may be extremely immature. But there is a profound ethical difference between such terminations and induced abortion, which directly targets the life of the baby.”

“As other surveys have shown, when these clear ethical distinctions are pointed out to respondents, it elicits a very different answer,” she added.

Dr Cullen also took issue with the survey’s finding that four in 10 respondents believe that “a woman’s healthcare suffers because of the requirement to travel to have a termination”.

She remarked: “The survey asks doctors about the possible effects on women of having to travel for abortion. However, remarkably given the most recent evidence showing the adverse effects of abortion on women, it fails to ask them whether they have encountered women who suffered from undergoing abortion itself.

Robust peer reviewed research highlighting these adverse consequences for women from abortion have appeared in the British Journal of Psychiatry and other authoritative publications.

Dr Cullen also suggested that there were “very legitimate questions” that could be raised about the methodology used in Dr Murphy’s survey.

She noted: “For example, even assuming that a correct representative sample was chosen initially, only 44pc of those who were written to replied.

Such a sample, Dr Cullen said “could not be considered as a scientifically representative sample”.