Amelia Gentleman, in The Guardian, reports:
Medical staff in Northern Ireland are operating in a “climate of fear”, worried about the threat of imprisonment if they offer advice to women seeking an abortion, healthcare leaders have said.
The number of legal abortions being carried out in Northern Ireland has halved in the past two years because doctors and midwives have been so alarmed by punitive draft guidelines, which state that healthcare workers risk life imprisonment for performing an unlawful abortion.
Hospital doctors, midwives and GPs all said they found it particularly difficult when women who were having a miscarriage after taking abortion pills bought online came to seek their advice, because of pressure to report anyone who has illegally procured an abortion.
One doctor (who asked not to be named because of the uncertain legal situation) recounted the unease he felt when a woman told him she had taken these pills. “It put me in an illegal position because, in the letter of the law, I should report. Obviously, I’m not going to do that, but this is the sort of problem you get,” he said.
Previously: Illegal Abortion In Ireland