Despite the legalisation of abortions more than two months ago, healthcare professionals in Northern Ireland have been constantly turning down patients.
A number of women seeking abortions in Northern Ireland claim that the healthcare professionals are refusing to give them assistance, which has left them with no other choice but to buy pills online or go overseas for terminations.
GPs have been turning down pregnant women in need of reference to hospital services so that they can access the tablets required to undergo a medical abortion. At the same time, midwives and nurses have been refusing to assist patients before and after the termination procedure, a leading reproductive rights group and doctors`s organisation revealed.
In view of this, several women have been forced to keep their unwanted pregnancies, while others have been ordering abortion pills online from European charities and travelling overseas during the lockdown.
Naomi Connor, co-convener for Alliance Choice, a leading reproductive rights group, said: “We had a lady who went to her GP to get an abortion, and her GP refused to help her; she asked to see someone else in the practice, and the GP said ‘no one else will help you unless you’re keeping your pregnancy, and if you are, we’ll provide you with folic acid and pregnancy support, but otherwise, we won’t help you’.”
According to the General Medical Council guidelines, if doctors have a conscientious objection, patients have to be referred to another doctor, and arrangements should be made instantly to ensure that the patient gets treatment.