Fewer than 5 percent of doctors in Ireland have told the government that they are willing to abort unborn babies.
Abortions became legal on Jan. 1 in Ireland, but 95 percent of doctors are not willing to do them, the Southern Star reports.
While abortion activists blame a fear of pro-life protests for the lack of abortionists, the more likely reason is that most doctors do not think killing a human being should be part of the medical profession.
Leading medical groups also have said the abortion law was pushed through too quickly, creating an “unacceptable and unsafe” environment for women in Ireland.
The Irish health department said 179 general practitioners have signed up to do abortions, but about 30 of them asked that their names not be shared through the government abortion hotline, according to the report.
Offaly Express reports at least four counties do not have any abortionists: Offaly, Leitrim, Carlow and Slingo.
Ireland’s new abortion law, which was rammed through parliament in December, allows abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It also forces taxpayers to pay for abortions and forces Catholic hospitals to provide them. The new law strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals, and hundreds of doctors and nurses fear being forced to help abort unborn babies or lose their jobs.
The first abortions of unborn babies in Ireland are expected to take place this week.
The National Association of General Practitioners, Ireland’s largest association of GPs, said doctors have serious concerns about a lack of equipment and unclear clinical guidelines for abortions, Euro News reports.
“The National Association of GPs believes that the rushed manner in which termination of pregnancy services are being introduced is unacceptable and unsafe,” it said in a statementlast month.
The doctors said pro-abortion Minister for Health Simon Harris was pushing abortion for politically-motivated reasons.
“The women of Ireland will not forgive the health system, if an unsafe service is brought in, for the sake of political expediency,” the doctors said.
Other leading medical professionals also have said the premature start date could put women’s lives at risk. Many hospitals have said they are not ready to begin abortions. They point to a lack of ultrasound machines, clinical guidelines and trained staff as reasons why the government should have delayed legalizing abortion.
Doctors also criticized government guidelines that allow girls ages 15 and under to abort their unborn babies without their parents’ knowledge or consent. One doctor accused the minister for health of taking “leave of his senses” by allowing this.
Southern Star reported problems with the government abortion hotline as well this week. One caller said she was left on hold for 45 minutes before a receptionist asked for her name and phone number to return her call at a later time. The woman said she thought it was a breach of privacy, but she left her information anyway and then waited several hours for a return phone call. She said she never received one.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates have started to peacefully protest at facilities where unborn babies may be aborted. On Monday, a small group of people stood outside of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda with signs urging women to choose life for their unborn babies, according to the Evening Echo.
“I deeply and profoundly care about the right to life of every human being…” pro-life advocate Charles Byrne told the local news. “We are here because we believe hospitals need to be places of care through compassion.”
However, abortion activists already are demanding that the government censor pro-life speech by enacting buffer zones around abortion facilities.
Abortions became legal on Jan. 1 in Ireland, ending decades-old protections of the human rights of unborn babies.