Ireland’s eighth amendment: I want to care for women, not abandon themBMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2111 (Published 16 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2111
- Mary Higgins, obstetrician
- National Maternity Hospital, University College Dublin, Ireland
Abortion is illegal in Ireland in all but the most restricted of circumstances, being allowed only where the risk to a woman’s life from a mental or physical illness “can be averted by carrying out the medical procedure.” Women with a fetal anomaly, women pregnant because of rape, women with dreadful social circumstances, women whose medical condition is “not serious enough,” and all other women have, essentially, three options: to travel to another jurisdiction, to find abortion drugs illegally and take them without medical supervision, or to continue with the pregnancy.
I have been the doctor who has turned to a couple and said, “I have something to tell you,” and watched their faces change, dreading what I will say next. For some of the women whose …