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113 psychiatrists disagree with abortion proposal

113 psychiatrists have signed a statement saying that legislation, which would allow for abortion as a treatment for threat of suicide, has no basis in medical evidence.

Four leading psychiatrists who carried out the survey of around 300 psychiatrists in the country.  They are Dr Martin Mahon, Connolly Hospital, Dr Bernie McCabe, Navan Hospital, Dr Richelle Kirrane, Connolly Hospital and Prof Patricia Casey of the Mater Hospital. Of those who replied, 14 of the doctors disagreed with the statement.

Dr McCabe said: “I am not surprised that so many of our colleagues agree that the proposed legislation is flawed. As members of the medical profession, we have a duty to our patients to adopt best practice and an evidence-based approach to everything we do.

“The fact is that there is no evidence that abortion is a treatment for suicidality in pregnancy and may in fact be harmful to women. The Government must take this into account and reconsider its proposals.”

She said: “In total, 302 letters were sent to consultant psychiatrists there was over a 40pc response. Doctors were given the option to sign their names or reply anonymously. Almost 90pc of respondents agreed with the statement.

Text of the Statment:

As practicing psychiatrists we are deeply concerned at the Government’s stated plan to legislate along the lines of the X-Case, as this will mean legislating for suicidality.

We believe that legislation that includes a proposal that an abortion should form part of the treatment for suicidal ideation has no basis in the medical evidence available.

We as psychiatrists are being called upon to participate in a process that is not evidence based and we do not believe that this should be asked of the profession.

Any proposal being considered by the Government must be based on a rigorous appraisal of the available psychiatric research and medical evidence.

Article in the Irish Independent


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