On RTÉ’s religious show Would You Believe? last night journalist Mick Peelo examined abortion laws in Ireland.
He discussed Catholic ethics committees in Catholic hospitals in America.
The programme heard how the US Conference of Bishops produces directives and a manual of Catholic healthcare ethics (above) for medical practitioners.
This manual stipulates that before early induction of labour can ever be justified ethically, there must be evidence of infection in the uterus.
Given that, in the past, many Irish hospitals had a Catholic ethos, Mr Peelo tried to find out more about the ethics committees present in Irish hospitals today.
He contacted all Irish hospitals, which deal with pregnant women, to find out which hospitals had such committees, and to find out who sits on these committees.
How did that go?
Mr Peelo, above, reported:
“Many hospitals have clinical ethics committees but there’s little public information about their guiding principles: how these committees operate? And, who sits on them? We asked all hospitals in Ireland, that treat pregnant women, whether they had codes of ethics and ethics committees which advise on clinical practice. The response was patchy and inconclusive. Catholic hospitals were very upfront about their ethical principles but offered no information about who sits on their ethics committees, except to say they’re appointed by their boards. The HSE responded by saying: ‘There is no national policy in relation to ethics. All staff comply with their professional standards and requirements and are guided by the Irish Medical Council’s guide to professional conduct and ethics.’ Some HSE hospitals have ethics committees, others have none.”
Meanwhile, speaking of ethics committees…
Emily O’Reilly quotes secretary of the Pro-Life Campaign John O’Reilly writing about the goals of the Knights of Columbanus, in her 1992 book Masterminds of the Right, above.
Thanks Oireachtas Retort