Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Irish Medical Times: Research needed on illegal abortion in Ireland

September 29, 2010

Dear Editor,

I’d like to echo Dr Ruairi Hanley’s call for a referendum on the introduction of abortion facilities in Ireland, broadly similar to those in the UK (‘Addressing the great taboo’, IMT, September 10).

This would make a big difference to the rising problem of illegal abortion in Ireland. It would also make a huge difference to Irish obstetricians who have to cope with the extraordinary difficulty of not being able to provide termination on clinical and social grounds here in our own hospitals.

I hope that the medical community will continue to provide a strong voice to advocate for a modernisation of our reproductive laws in Ireland.

I also feel that research into the growing problem of illegal abortion would be a useful tool in assessing this need for legal change from a clinical point of view, because until now illegal abortion in Ireland has not been well documented and it remains a secret and covered-up problem with severe clinical consequences.

The maternity and emergency departments should be encouraged and provided with adequate funding to explore this cause of maternal morbidity and mortality as a matter of urgency.

Dr Juliet Bressan,
Amiens St,
Dublin 1