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Deputy Carol Nolan challenges Minister Harris on home abortions during pandemic

By Katie Ascough - 16 May, 2020

Deputy Carol Nolan

According to the Pro Life Campaign, in the Dáil on Thursday 14 May Carol Nolan TD challenged the Minister for Health Simon Harris on his decision to permit “home abortions” for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis. This type of abortion involves a remote online consultation with a doctor and includes no prior, in-person consultation or routine examination for the woman carrying her child.

Deputy Nolan said the changes were made without any consultation with other Oireachtas members who might have opposed the move. “Instead the minister chose to proceed,” she said, “with a ‘Revised Model of Care’ which stands in total contradiction to the assurances he provided to an Oireachtas Health Committee in 2018.” 

Directly questioning the minister in the Dáil, Deputy Nolan asked for clear and specific information on who or what organisation was going to oversee this radical change and what medical advice the minister sought before pressing ahead with the change. Deputy Nolan described the minister’s response as inadequate. She did, however, force him to concede on the record that the new measures introduced will lapse “once the public health emergency is declared over”.

In addition to the lives of unborn babies that will be lost as a result of the home abortions that take place, Deputy Nolan raised the potential for devastating health outcomes that remote consultation generates for women self-administering abortion drugs. She called on the minister to provide a greater level of detail and commitment on the roadmap to reverse remote consultations.

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