Varadkar and Harris adamant on forcing abortion referrals on doctors

GPs will have to refer patients for abortions even if they conscientiously object to the procedure insisted both Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, yesterday.

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) representing over 2,000 GPs called on the Minister at the weekend to provide for conscientious objection without obligation to refer in his forthcoming abortion legislation. This stance was repeated on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland program on Monday. In response the Minister tweeted: “The idea of a woman in crisis sitting in front of her doctor & her doctor refusing to refer flies in face of care & compassion & is not reflective of doctors I know. People spoke & want women to be cared for. Conscientious objection -yes. No referral or info -no”.

Later in the day, when asked about it at an event in Dublin castle, the Taoiseach, Mr Varadkar, said “What we can’t allow is this suggestion that a GP, if he doesn’t provide the service, would then refuse to refer their patient on to someone who would because essentially that is the equivalent of, ‘you’re on your own, love’ and we’re not going to have that in Ireland any more.”