GPs group call for conscientious objection with no referral, Minister Harris refuses

A group representing over 2,000 GPs has called on the Minister for Health to provide for conscientious objection without obligation to refer in his forthcoming abortion legislation. They also asked that he not make abortion part of routine General Practice and that abortion might operate only according to an “opt-in” provision for doctors wishing to provide abortions.

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) held an Emergency General Meeting Saturday in Portlaoise, to discuss issues that may arise for them following the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. They passed a motion that the NAGP “should advocate for conscientious objection without obligation to refer. We specifically refer to the Contraceptive Sterilisation Abortion 1977 NZ ACT Sect. 46. We ask that a similar section be inserted into the proposed legislation.” The meeting was attended by about 50 GPs.

However, Minister Harris sent out a tweet also on Saturday saying “Doctors will always be able to opt out & conscientious objection is a long standing principle in medicine & one which will be respected in new law BUT we #Repealedthe8th so we could care for women in our own country and that duty of care in terms of referral will definitely apply.”

The meeting also passed motions saying abortion should not be made part of general care by GPs and that abortion provision should be an opt-in not an opt-out ‘service’.