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Health Minister Says Charging For Abortions Could Cause Problems

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The Health Minister says charging for abortions would lead to private clinics popping up around the country.

Yesterday the 8th amendment was officially removed from the constitution - following May's referendum.

Simon Harris says it's his intention that abortion services will be free of charge:

"I don't want cost to be a barrier because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things could happen - you see private clinics develop we don't want this to happen in Ireland, we want it to be part of an integrated public health service and secondly you see people having to continue to travel. So I want to see this provided as part of our healthcare system"

The government wants women to be able to access terminations by the new year but doctors says they might not be ready to carry out abortions here by January.

A fear of being sued and the public backlash against them are some of the concerns doctors have about the new abortion legislation.

GPs are also concerned about staffing, training and the specialist support available to help them provide the new service.

The Oireachtas Health Committee has been hearing from some of those who will be tasked with implementing Ireland's new abortion laws.

The Irish College of General Practitioners has been surveying its members to hear their concerns.

Some are worried about the capacity of the health service to provide abortions - with worries about staffing, facilities and training.

They are worried about the public reaction to those who choose to carry out abortions, and those who refuse.

The submission also cites a fear of litigation.

Doctors also want the service to be opt in, so conscientious objectors have their views respected.

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in its submission says the planned three-day waiting period from the time a woman sees a doctor to when she's given an abortion pill shouldn't be included in the final law.

The Institute also raised concerns about the lack of access to MRI machines for use in diagnosing cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

The Government plans to introduce the legislation to allow abortions into the Dáil in the first week of October.


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