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News Summary 26 September

26 September 2016

Pro-Life activists say the Eighth Amendment protects mothers and babies. Image source: Reuters

Protests held across the world against Ireland's pro-life laws

The BBC reports that thousands of people have marched across Dublin and 20 other world cities to protest against Ireland's abortion laws.

Protesters are calling for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which upholds the equal right to life of an unborn child and the mother: the hashtag #repealthe8th was popular among supporters on Twitter. A march was held in Dublin, with support organised in other cities including Berlin, Melbourne and London.

Next month Prime Minister Enda Kenny will hold a citizens' assembly to discuss whether a vote should take place to change the abortion laws.

Polish MPs back first stage of Stop Abortion Bill

A bill which seeks to remove exceptions to Poland’s ban on abortion was on Friday cleared by MPs to move to its next legislative stage.

The bill, which aims to remove exceptions for babies with disabilities, or who are conceived as a result of a crime, has now been sent to the committee stage for further reading. At the same time, MPs voted down a bill proposed by pro-abortion activists, which seeks to liberalise Polish abortion laws.

Bioethicists propose that doctors lose right to conscientious objection

Two bioethicists in Canada have proposed that doctors be compelled to participate in abortion and euthanasia against their will, in a suggestion that critics have termed "untenable" and "ridiculous".

Udo Schuklenk, research chair in bioethics at Queen's University Ontario teamed with Julian Savulescu, director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford,  to argue that doctors have no right to refuse to provide abortions, contraceptives, or euthanasia on moral grounds to patients who request these services, reported the National Post.

“Doctors must put patients’ interests ahead of their own integrity,” they wrote in a September article in Bioethics, which is edited by Schuklenk. Savulescu edits the Journal of Medical Ethics. "If this leads to feelings of guilty remorse or them dropping out of the profession, so be it" they said. "There is an oversupply of people wishing to be doctors. The place to debate issues of contraception, abortion, and euthanasia is at the societal level, not the bedside."

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