32 Donegal doctors call for Yes vote in abortion referendum

first_imgIn an open letter to the people of Donegal, 32 Donegal doctors are calling for a Yes vote in the referendum on Friday.Some of the county’s well-known GPs are amongst the 32 named doctors whose areas of practice range from general practitioners to psychiatry, and emergency room medicine.The following is the full contents of the letter. DOCTORS’ LETTERAs a doctor I’m voting yes… because life is not black and white. Nor does it fit neatly on to lampposts, posters and billboards.If, like many, you remain undecided on how to vote, allow me to rationally explain why I am voting yes.Nobody likes abortion. Nobody. Nobody chooses it as the “easy” option, because it is far from easy. You do not have to agree with abortion to vote yes. But you do have to agree that life is not black and white, and sometimes we need to have space for the grey area. This grey area might be fatal foetal anomaly where a couple finds out that their much-wanted pregnancy will not survive outside the womb. Our constitution currently dictates that that couple must continue with this pregnancy to term whatever the circumstance, or else face travelling to the UK under a shroud of secrecy and shame. Punishing and exacerbating tragedy in this circumstance is a cruel legacy of the 1983 8th amendment. Every woman or couple should have the freedom to make the choice that is right for them in this tragic circumstance – whether that is to terminate the pregnancy or continue until full-term. Whatever their decision, this should be able to happen in their own country, surrounded by their family and medical supports. That is one of the grey areas you are voting for when you vote Yes.Or perhaps the grey area is a 12-year-old rape victim who becomes pregnant as a result of this horrific crime. They are currently forced to carry a pregnancy to term, regardless of their age. The alternative is to get a passport and travel abroad with her parent’s consent to avail of a termination. How heinous and uncompassionate for a person who has already been so drastically traumatised. You must also consider the woman in an abusive relationship who is being beaten, abused and possibly raped. These are real life cases in THIS county and country that you are voting on. Real life grey areas.You wonder if the 8th amendment’s impact on maternal healthcare is a grey area. And it is, just ask the family of Savita Halappanavar. Savita was denied a termination as she was not deemed ill enough to be entitled to one, because her doctors could not confirm a “real and substantial risk” to her life, and she later died of sepsis. Her family have asked that people vote Yes to repeal the 8th in her memory – having seen first-hand what it means to be a grey case. Under current legislation a treating doctor must believe that death is a real possibility before termination can take place, even if the foetus is unviable as in Savita’s case. The treating consultant in her tragic case reaffirmed at her inquest that she did not meet that threshold when she asked for termination and when she did meet the threshold, it was too late. This is the grey area you are voting on.You have heard a lot about the twelve-week limit and have legitimate concerns about it. This timeframe was chosen (first by recommendations of the citizens assembly and later by the Oireachtas Committee) as it is the only way we can legislate for the grey areas above. If you, like us, agree that termination should be allowed for women like Savita, or allowed for in cases of a 12-year-old rape victim or for those in heart wrenching circumstances where their pregnancy is unviable, then you too are pro-repeal, because you understand that in difficult cases the right of the living mother and her family, takes precedence over any rights of a developing foetus. These are the grey areas that only the twelve-week limit can allow for.You have concerns that once legalised, abortion rates will increase as they become more readily available – that the “floodgates” will open. The floodgates are already open: over 1,000 women took the abortion pill illegally in Ireland last year. More than 3,260 women travelled to the UK last year to obtain a termination. That means that when you go into the polling booth on May 25th to vote with your conscience, 3 women will take an abortion pill that day and 9 more will travel to the UK for a termination. The bottom grey line is this: abortion is already a reality in Ireland.388 women (that we know of) in Donegal travelled to the UK between 2012 & 2016 to access terminations. The grey uncomfortable reality is that these are your friends, your neighbours, your sisters, your daughters and your mothers. Whether you know about it or not. Whether you continue to turn a blind eye and export it or not. You may never be in this heart-wrenching grey area to have to make this decision, nor would you want to be, but surely you can understand that this grey area does not belong in our constitution or perhaps even to you. Instead it belongs to a couple and their doctors in the confidential consultation room. You can reach out into the grey next week in the ballot box and say to those couples of Donegal, I support you.For the grey in life, for care, for compassion, for reality, VOTE YES.1. Dr Pádraig McGuinness2. Dr Tommy Nunan3. Dr John Sheeran4. Dr Paul Stewart5. Dr Paul Van Dessel6. Dr Mireille Sweeney7. Dr Pauline Gallagher8. Dr Dan Gill9. Dr Sarah Smith10. Dr Farah Mydin11. Dr Sile Kelly12. Dr Noel Sharkey13. Dr Anna McHugh14. Dr Cliona Small15. Dr Killian Mac A Bhaird16. Dr Simeon Nwosu17. Dr Méabh Kinsella18. Dr Eimear Gibbons19. Dr Claire Sharkey20. Dr Roisin McDaid21. Dr Mark Boyce22. Dr Samantha Davis23. Dr Deirdre McLaughlin24. Dr Clare Stewart25. Dr Fiachra McLaughlin26. Dr Eileen Sweeney27. Dr Rosemarie Fitzgerald28. Dr Bill Anderson29. Dr Caitriona Laverty30. Dr Lorraine Anderson31. Dr Hannah Greene32. Dr Grainne Culleton Donegal Doctors for YES32 Donegal doctors call for Yes vote in abortion referendum was last modified: May 24th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:doctorsdonegalreferendumvoteYESlast_img

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