A group of close to 300 healthcare workers in Northern Ireland signed a letter stating their opposition to “at-home abortions.”
The letter, addressed to Robin Swann MLA, comes in response to calls for Northern Ireland to approve abortion services via telemedicine.
A group known as the Alliance for Choice recently called for Swann to implement guidance from the WHO which would grant access to abortion via telemedicine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scotland, Wales, and England already allow women to consult with a doctor over the phone and then receive abortion pills in the mail.
The 277 healthcare workers who penned the letter to Swann say that abortions undertaken at home and not under the direct supervision of a doctor are “unsafe” and “unacceptable.”
“This is a cynical ideological move to seize ground while the attention of politicians, health service, and population are otherwise occupied with COVID-19. This is another retrograde step for the health of women and children, introducing further risks into an already poorly regulated and unwanted system,” said Andrew Cupples, a General Practitioner in Northern Ireland. He continued, saying that, “Far from protecting vulnerable women, it opens the door for further coercion and abuse. The notion of properly informed consent, a pillar of good medical care, is thrown out the window.”
Cupples also expressed his concern about the standard of care women would receive. He said, “Treating patients without proper assessment, for flawed reasons such as ease of access, flies in the face of good medical care. Far from empowering women, this move would further empower healthcare workers to engage in the wholesale destruction of the unborn child with greater ease and efficiency, to the distress of many of their patients and colleagues.”
Hannah Chapman, who is also a General Practitioner in Northern Ireland, echoed Cupples’ concerns. She said, “The basic standard of care I would expect for women who find themselves faced with unplanned pregnancy starts with a full physical and emotional assessment, and ends with access to a full range of options and support. At a time when a woman may already feel vulnerable and isolated, remote assessment and ‘at home’ abortion cannot offer this care. As detailed, it exposes women to significant physical risk whilst potentially denying her ongoing support. On top of these basic risks, the potential for pills to be obtained with inaccurate details, or under coercion, is frightening.”
In a 2014 survey conducted by the Christian Institute, 89 percent of adults in the UK said that women who want an abortion should be seen by a qualified doctor.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pornpak Khunatorn
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”