100 percent of Uruguayan doctors opt out of new abortion law in some areas
January 18, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Although Uruguay recently approved legislation allowing first trimester abortions, women who want to kill their unborn children are likely to experience difficulties in finding a doctor who is willing to do the deed, according to local media sources.
Outside of the major cities, the majority of physicians say they will not participate in abortions, according to Uruguay's El Diario newspaper.
In some medical centers the rejection reaches 100 percent of doctors, making it impossible to implement the country's new system. In Uruguay as a whole, a reported 30 percent of gynecologists have refused to participate.
The recently passed legislation, which may ultimately be subject to a referendum, permits abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy following a review by a board of experts and a five-day waiting period. The first trimester limit is dropped in cases of rape, or if the child is handicapped, in which case he may be killed up to the moment of birth.
Although doctors can opt out of the system by registering themselves as conscientious objectors, those who do participate are not free to refuse an abortion if a woman decides to have one following the review process and waiting period.
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"The law violates a fundamental human right, which is the right to life, in particular of someone who is not consulted, who doesn't have a voice, who doesn't have a vote, who has no weight, and that is the embryo," gynecologist Ricardo Pou told Uruguay's El Pais. "This law was produced apart from the professionals who are more or less involved directly. They didn't even consult the scientific organizations of which we are members."
According to gynecology professor Justo Alsonso, the legislation represents an "unacceptable intervention" in the doctor-patient relationship.
"The Public Health Ministry can't tell us how to treat each one of our cases, each one of our patients," Alsonso said. "Doctors work in an ethical way, and for doctors, ethics is above the law."
Hundreds of abortions have reportedly taken place through the system since the new legislation went into effect in December.
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