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Dr. Brendan Crowley
K.V. Turley

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Irish GP who defended life on TV: Gov’t is trying to force all doctors to participate in abortion

K.V. Turley

IRELAND, September 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During the Irish abortion referendum, Dr. Brendan Crowley came to prominence for speaking up for the life of the unborn child through Irish media.

A graduate of University College Cork, he went on to complete his training in General Practice with the South West GP Training Programme in 2011. Currently, he works as a General Practitioner in County Cork.

Recently, Dr. Crowley spoke to LifeSiteNews about the current plans of the Irish Government to force all Irish medical practitioners to be part of abortion provision.  

LifeSiteNews (LSN): What was the reaction from colleagues and the public to your unequivocal and forthright public defense of the unborn in the recent referendum debate?

Dr. Crowley: As I expected, there was a mixed and somewhat polarized reaction to my statements during the referendum. Plenty of colleagues and members of the public were quick to rally around and pledge their support and thanks for speaking out. I greatly appreciated these expressions of solidarity. Unsurprisingly, my comments also drew stern criticism from pro-abortion activists. I fully anticipated this and was prepared for it. I try to live my life as honestly as I can, and speak my mind without concern as to how my comments might reflect on me personally.

LSN: In light of the referendum result and the scale of defeat, where is the Irish pro-life movement now?

Dr. Crowley: I think that the scale of the defeat in the recent referendum was something that took everybody by surprise on both sides of the debate. Certainly the polls did not reflect this position in the lead up to voting day. However, the position since taken by leading politicians seems to be that the argument is now over and that a pro-life stance will no longer be tolerated in Ireland. This dismissive and belligerent attitude is typical of a governing body that is intent on ruling with tyranny.

The debate is far from over. There is certainly a deep sense of sorrow and disappointment concerning the decision of the Irish public to remove legal protection from the lives of all unborn children. However, the pro-life arguments remain as valid now as they were pre-referendum. Each life has equal inherent moral value and this is never affected by the result of a referendum or by somebody else’s choice. A healthy, functioning society requires us to respect all of humanity and most especially to respect the weak and the vulnerable, including our unborn children.

LSN: Why has the Irish political establishment moved so quickly to force medics to “get in line”?

Dr. Crowley: The actions of the Irish Government throughout this campaign and since the result have been deplorable. Somehow, they have orchestrated a situation whereby as a country, we have moved from a position where each life was cherished regardless of circumstances, to one where life can be discarded in a variety of different situations. This position, formally adopted by the Government, seeks to embolden a society based on hyper individualism, a society where one individual’s choice trumps the right to life of another. To enforce this kind of belief system in a country requires a dogmatic approach on behalf of the Government. Naturally, there are many healthcare professionals in Ireland who do not support the Government’s views. Many healthcare professionals still recognize that true compassion and authentic healthcare never result in the intentional killing of a human life. Many doctors simply will not cooperate with the Government’s plans. This conflict of values threatens the establishment of this ‘new and progressive Ireland’. The Government recognizes this position and as a result, they are attempting to move quickly to legally force doctors to comply with the new legislation and thereby defy their most deeply held moral and ethical values.

LSN: Where is Ireland’s medical establishment in all this?

Dr. Crowley: Thankfully, there are many healthcare professionals in Ireland who do not support the Government’s values. Many healthcare professionals including doctors still recognize that true compassion and authentic healthcare never result in the intentional killing of a human life. Many doctors simply will not cooperate with the Government’s plans and politicians in Ireland are currently being lobbied to support a doctor’s right to freedom of conscience in relation to his/her medical practice. This conflict of values threatens the establishment of this ‘new and progressive Ireland’. The Government recognizes this position and as a result, they are attempting to move quickly to force doctors to comply with the new legislation and in turn defy their most deeply held moral and ethical values.

LSN: What is the understanding of Irish legislators around the concept of “conscientious objection”?

Dr. Crowley: The current proposed legislation states that a doctor/nurse/midwife can abstain from directly participating in an abortion. However, it specifically states that any doctor who has a conscientious objection to doing the abortion must “make arrangements to transfer the care” of the woman to a doctor who will do it. What this means in practice is that regardless of the position of conscience a doctor holds personally he/she cannot refuse to be involved in aiding and abetting the abortion and, thereby, ending a human life. Importantly, it is worth noting that, ethics aside, abortion as an intervention has failed to show any therapeutic value for the woman in terms of long term mental health outcomes when appraised in the scientific literature. Unsurprisingly, current leading research seems to point to a significant negative outcome for many women in certain cases.

LSN: How many doctors in Ireland do you estimate are pro-life?

Dr. Crowley: Given that there has been no formal survey to assess all doctors in Ireland, it’s impossible to be exact on the figures. However, a recent study of General Practitioners (Family Physicians) in Ireland post referendum showed that 85% believe that abortion should not be part of routine General Practice. Also, over 50% of those surveyed stated that they have a conscientious objection to providing abortion services.

LSN: Is it still possible to be pro-life and a doctor in today’s Irish Republic?

Dr. Crowley: This question remains unanswerable for the time being. If we do not succeed in securing legal protection for all healthcare professionals in relation to true conscientious objection then it will mean the end for the pro-life doctor in Ireland. This potential grim reality is mobilizing pro-life advocates in Ireland at the current time.

LSN: In Ireland is the pro-life battle now over?  

Dr. Crowley: The pro-life battle is certainly not over. Each human being, regardless of circumstance, has an equal and irreplaceable value and dignity. Until such time as all lives are protected in our society then the battle goes on.

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