Harris orders HSE to ensure abortion availability from January 1st

The Department of Health has ordered the Health Service Executive to ensure abortion will be available in all 19 maternity units from January 1st. The move comes amid rising uncertainty over whether the Government will meet its deadline for the introduction of abortion. Independent TD Peadar Toibin said recently that several maternity units around the country are resisting performing abortions.

The Department has also asked the 19 units to provide updates on how they plan to provide for abortion from the New Year onwards. Doctors in a number of hospitals have already expressed their opposition to the Government’s abortion plans due to conscience-objections and fears of a lack of resources.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will provide a week of educational sessions on ‘ethical issues’ in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. They have been invited by the Irish College of General Practitioners and the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists with funding from the HSE. Sessions are due to start on December 10th and will be made available to all staff who will be providing abortion from January 1st, across community and hospital settings.