Seanad debates

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages


2:55 pm

Photo of Rónán MullenRónán Mullen (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I found Senator Bacik's comments interesting. She stated many might take the view there ought not to be any provision for conscientious objectors while acknowledging it is a human right. This goes to the heart of the problem and the heart of the fears that many people have, that there is something about the abortion movement that is not content to let people go their own way peacefully. It wants to co-opt and draw everybody into approval. This is why we have to be very careful to give specific legal protection to those with a conscientious objection.

One person expressed concern to me that the Minister has reassured pharmacists their conscientious objection is provided for in their code of conduct, and averred it is a set of guidelines subject to the law that can change at any time. This person said pharmacists are not satisfied that they are not specifically named in the legislation alongside doctors, nurses and midwives and would like the Minister to clarify why he is deliberately denying pharmacists legal protection under the Bill. It is not enough to say to pharmacists that they are covered by their code of conduct. Doctors, nurses and midwives have similar provisions in their codes of conduct but they are specifically named in the legislation. Senator Ó Domhnaill referred to how they make the point that their code of conduct has no reference whatsoever to the words "conscientious objection" so I will not labour it. This is the principle the Minister is using to imply there is some protection under Principle Four on work with others, and he quoted the fifth point.


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