Guest Author - Rebecca Orczeck
The Royal College of Midwives in Northern Ireland rejected proposed guidelines on abortion last year. This leaves literally no legal framework in which to perform it. Midwives who oppose it have no legal ground to object and those who carry out an abortion leave themselves open to legal recourse for years to come.
Irish abortion laws are contradictions that confuse all parties involved, leaving medical professionals especially vulnerable. Under Irish law, abortion may be performed only in emergency situations, when a woman’s life is in imminent danger. Under a regulation named the Bourne Judgment, abortion can take place when a woman’s mental or physical health is in jeopardy – similar to restrictions in the United States.
Facts about Abortion in Northern Ireland:
Only 80 legal abortions are carried out annually, but medical professionals report a much higher rate.
The median gestational age for abortions is 20 weeks – around the time genetic testing and ultrasounds are most likely to reveal birth defects and genetic abnormalities.
Most elective Irish abortions occur in England and do not get counted in any official tally. There is no way to track how many Irish women are actually having abortions.
Precious Life, an Irish pro-life group, is launching the “40 Days for Life” campaign. Participants will fast and pray for the end of abortion between Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. They will also take part in peaceful vigils and an organized community outreach to educate about abortion and pro-life information.