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First of its kind study finds “Considerable unwillingness” to participate in medical abortions by Irish GPs

by | Dec 13, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

What an encouraging headline to a story in yesterday’s Irish Medical News: “’Considerable unwillingness’ to participate in medical abortions by Irish GPs — study.”

Reporter Lloyd Mudiwa is referring to a study (first of its kind since protections were removed from unborn babies in Ireland) titled, ‘Knowledge and attitudes of Irish GPs towards abortion following its legalisation: a cross-sectional study.” It was just published in the BJGP Open|British Journal of General Practice.

The question asked of General Practitioners was about their attitude towards participation in chemical (“medication”) abortions, since the assumption was a majority of abortions would be chemically-induced and performed by a GP. We learn

“There is a lack of training and considerable level of unwillingness to participate in this process among Irish GPs,” the research team stated in their research.

What was the objective of the study led by Dr. Ray O’Connor ? “[T]o elicit the attitudes and level of preparedness of Irish family doctors to provide medical abortion services in a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of 222 GPs,” according to the Irish Medical Times.

Some fascinating results. Of the GPs who responded to an anonymous online poll, 48% said they would be willing to prescribe chemical abortifacient and 37% said they would not.

But only 41.7% “believed that provision of abortion services should be part of general practice” and 40.9% “ saying that it should not.

What about conscience protections? Yes and no. Seventy-two percent agreed they are entitled to “a conscientious objection” but should “also be obliged to refer the patient.”

The authors’ attitude toward abortion was clear when they wrote

“There is also a perceived lack of patient support services for women experiencing unwanted pregnancy. It is incumbent upon state and professional bodies to address these issues. [Underlining added.]

Categories: Abortion
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