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'Draconian' abortion proposals are 'completely unworkable' - psychiatrists

In a strongly-worded statement, the College of Psychiatry in Ireland has criticised proposals that as many as 12 doctors could be involved in assessing the suicidal risk in a woman seeking an abortion.

Image: abortion definition in a dictionary via Shutterstock

PROPOSALS TO INVOLVE three stages and as many as 12 doctors in the assessment of a suicide risk in a woman seeking an abortion have been described as “draconian and completely unworkable” by psychiatrists.

In a statement the College of Psychiatry in Ireland said that said it was “appalled” by the proposals reported in some newspapers today that the Maternal Protection of Life Bill, that would legislate for the X Case, could involve psychiatric assessments involving up to 12 consultants.

The comments come as the two parties in government appear to be in disagreement as to how many consultants should assess the risk of suicide in a woman who is seeking an abortion on the grounds of a risk to her life.

In a strongly-worded statement, the College said it was “extremely concerned” at the measures being considered.

“[The College] strongly states that psychiatrists will not be prepared to collude with or participate in a process that undermines woman in such a disrespectful and abusive way,” a statement said.

“Psychiatrists want to be able to assess and treat woman in a compassionate and professional way and not to act as ‘social policemen’.”

Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald, a senior minister involved in impromptu discussions over the legislation yesterday, has told TheJournal.ie that six consultants assessing the suicidal risk is “clearly too many”.

Exclusive: ‘Six doctors is clearly too many’ for abortion panel, says Minister

Read: Ministers’ row means abortion law may miss summer deadline

More: Proposals for six-person abortion panel ‘ridiculous’ and ‘a sick joke’, says expert

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Hugh O'Connell

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