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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 April, 2014

Concern over whether hospital will comply with abortion legislation

Professor John Crown has said that “serious questions have to be asked” of governing boards at Irish hospitals.

CONCERN HAS BEEN raised over comments from a member of the Mater hospital board of governors that it “cannot comply” with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

Fr Kevin Doran told The Irish Times today that the Dublin hospital’s board is to meet to see whether or how it will abide by the legislation, which provides for a woman’s right to an abortion in life-saving circumstances.

The Mater is one of 25 ‘appropriate institutions’ named in the act where such abortions could take place.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it has not yet been decided if the Department will make an official statement on the matter.

Senator and Professor John Crown told that the statement “just raised my ire” this morning.

He said that the comments from Fr Doran were “outrageous”.

Crown noted that he has previously said himself that he believes refusing life-saving treatment or drugs at a hospital because of Catholic ethos means “you are not pro-life – you are pro-death”.

He said that “serious questions have to be asked” of governing boards at hospitals, and whether religious institutions divested themselves of hospitals to divest themselves of assets when facing abuse claims, while retaining management control.

“The Mater needs to carefully look at what they are saying here,” said Senator Crown.

He said that Ireland needs a fundamental reform of its hospital service, where there can be religious hospitals who have their own rules, but that people should be free to choose which hospital they attend.

However, he fears that under proposed hospital groupings, “people will lose these options”. Health Minister James Reilly plans to create six regional groupings for the State’s hospitals.

Each group would contain between six and eleven hospitals, including one major teaching hospital. Minister Reilly described it as a “fundamental modernisation of our health system organisation”.

Healthcare staff will be expected to work across a group rather than in individual hospitals.

Read: Reilly announces biggest change to Irish hospitals ‘in decades’>

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