Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Department of Health
Abortion Services Provision
371. To ask the Minister for Health the provision made for conscientious objection by members of medical staff on abortion services; the procedure for conscientious objection to abortion services in emergency circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51310/19]
As the Deputy will be aware, section 22 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 deals with conscientious objection by members of medical staff in relation to the provision of termination of pregnancy services.
This section states that where he/she has a conscientious objection, a medical practitioner, nurse or midwife shall not be obliged to carry out, or participate in the carrying out, a termination of pregnancy.
In the event of a doctor, nurse or midwife having a difficulty in undertaking a required medical procedure, he or she will have a duty to make arrangements for the transfer of the woman’s care to a colleague.
The Act makes it clear that conscientious objection cannot be invoked in an emergency situation, when the risk to a pregnant woman’s life or health is immediate.
Conscientious objection is limited to persons involved in the delivery of the treatment only and does not extend to any other persons, or to institutions.
Section 49 of the most recent version of the Medical Council’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Professionals, published in August 2019, reiterates these provisions.
372. To ask the Minister for Health the additional resources allocated to hospitals for the provision of abortion services following the enactment of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51311/19]
As the Deputy will be aware, the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas on 13 December 2018 and signed into law by the President on 20 December 2018.
Services for termination of pregnancy under the Act commenced on 1 January 2019.
Funding of €12 million was provided in 2019 for the implementation of termination of pregnancy services. As set out in the National Service Plan 2019, €7 million of this funding was allocated for the provision of the service in the acute hospital system.