Letter: Ireland’s family planning situation is ludicrous
2017-07-18 12:16:42 -
It is a product of ignorance that when a woman’s birth control fails in this country, they must get on a plane to another country if they do not want to go through with an unwanted pregnancy.

One can imagine the very awkward and difficult conversations GPs are having with their female patients in directing them to another jurisdiction, as they explain they can help no further. 

These women, if they are lucky enough to be in a position to do so, must then take time off work to travel to England for an abortion, and deal with awkward questions from friends, family, and employers about why they must suddenly depart.

The situation is ludicrous and totally unnecessary. GPs in this country are surely spending enormous amounts of time in their surgeries explaining the tight rules on abortion. They then have to explain to patients that they cannot assist them in any way whatsoever, even something as simple as making enquires or referrals. The strain on everyone involved must be extraordinary.

Unfortunately, we also hear reports, though rare, of GPs refusing to grant emergency contraception to their patients, playing politics and religion in their surgeries and causing enormous trouble for women who need help, not a moralising lecture.

Overall, though, GPs have their hands tied. They must sit with their clients and explain ad nauseam the ins and outs of abortion policy in this country, as they give endless discourses on a procedure which could be over in minutes — if it were allowed in this country for pregnant women who do not want to go through with what’s an enormous responsibility.

GPs should not be burdened with the task of giving the unwelcome news to their patients that contraception has failed, and schooling their patients on what options are open to them out of State, when all options should be available at home.

Meanwhile, I do not want to hear another word from anti-abortion activists, who have started to complain recently about pro-choice demonstrators at their rallies. The latter have every right to do so, especially since because anti-abortionists have made a habit of protesting and even disrupting pro-choice meetings to insult and berate their speakers.

Opinion on this issue seems so divided – so why should we continue as a country to adopt one narrow collective standpoint, forced on people by the Eighth Amendment and reinforced by legislation on the issue of abortion? Is it not time for the people to be polled again?

Maurice Fitzgerald 
Shanbally, Co Cork
TAGS : GP's birth control Ireland
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