May/June, 1997 Volume XII Number 6 - IN THE NATION

"Fertility Clinic" suspends doctor at center of abortion furor

Dublin, IRELAND -- A "fertility clinic" has suspended a doctor suspected of performing a botched illegal abortion in a case that reignited debate about Ireland's strict rules against abortion. Abortion is permitted in Ireland only when a woman's life is in danger.
The Marie Stopes Reproductive Choice Clinic in Dublin said on March 11 that it suspended a doctor, who was not identified, pending the outcome of a police inquiry.
"He is denying everything and he has our full support in clearing his good name,'' said clinic director Frank Crummy. "I've know this doctor for over 30 years and his service to the women of Ireland has been magnificent.''
The Marie Stopes Reproductive Choice Clinic is connected with the abortion clinic by the same name in England.
The latest controversy began last month when the woman, identified as X, went to The Irish Times with her story. The newspaper said she voluntarily underwent an abortion at the clinic two years ago, then complained to police after developing medical complications.
Irish women usually have abortions in Britain, where abortion is widely available.
In Britain, Cardinal Basil Hume urged Roman Catholic voters to find out candidates' views on abortion before elections and "be very hesitant ... to give a vote to somebody who is strongly in favor of abortion.''
Hume's call, in a BBC radio interview, follows an offer by Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning to financially help any woman who decided against abortion (see News Notes). About 10 percent of Britons are Catholics.
In Ireland, a resurgent campaign for a new referendum on abortion is reviving a difficult issue for legislators. National elections also are due in Ireland, probably in June.
In a 1992 referendum, voters chose to amend an anti-abortion clause in the constitution to allow women to travel abroad for abortions.
The 90 percent Catholic electorate voted against allowing abortion in Ireland, even under restricted circumstances. But in 1992, Ireland's Supreme Court said abortion could be allowed when a woman's life is in danger.

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