Some Doctors in Ireland Pushing to Ease Abortion Ban

Medical Council Looking at New Guidelines

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DUBLIN, Ireland, SEPT. 13, 2002 ( The Medical Council of Ireland is poised to receive proposals to remove the ban on abortion from its ethical guide, the British Medical Journal reports.

The move comes in response to the council’s request for submissions from doctors as part of an update of its ethical code. The code governs professional behavior of doctors in the republic.

Doctors for Choice, a pro-abortion group, said that the council’s ethics committee will receive several proposals on the wording of its guidelines covering the area of «reproductive» medicine.

These guidelines now state: «The deliberate and intentional destruction of the unborn child is professional misconduct. Should a child in utero lose its life as a side effect of standard medical treatment of the mother, then this is not unethical. Refusal by a doctor to treat a woman with a serious illness because she is pregnant would be grounds for complaint and could be considered to be professional misconduct.»

The present council also passed a motion last year that was subsequently included in an amendment to its ethical guide. The motion stated: «That the Medical Council recognises that termination of pregnancy can occur where there is a real and substantive risk to the life of the mother.»

Doctors for Choice wants to ensure that this wording replaces and is not just an addition to the phrase «the deliberate and intentional destruction of the unborn child is professional misconduct» when the update of the guide is completed.

The closing date for submissions has been extended from Sept. 6 to Oct. 11.

Earlier this year, Irish voters narrowly rejected a move that supporters said would have strengthened the country’s abortion law.

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