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A feminist analysis of the Neary and Halappanavar cases

(eventually removed in 1973). In practice, these restrictions meant that many thousands of Irish women were, effectively, forced to have large families until the (restricted) legalisation of contraception in 1980. The Harding Clark Report indicates that the Catholic religious sisters, the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMMs), who ran Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital until 1997, regularly appealed to Church laws and doctrine and consulted various clergymen on clinical issues that raised moral worries for them. On the matter of hysterectomies, they were, in fact, out of step with

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare

2 Conscientious objection, harm reduction and abortion care Ruth Fletcher Introduction The scope of any legal right to refuse to provide abortion care merits particular consideration following the introduction of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 (PLDPA). Irish health scholarship and practice may benefit from an account of conscientious objection (CO) that clarifies when CO is legitimately engaged by a refusal to provide care and whether CO is limited given its potential effect as a barrier to women’s lawful access to abortion. This chapter

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
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, at best, and the ­normative foundations for decisions remain largely unexplored. The stifling impact of religious ethos, in particular that of Catholicism, is often cited as an explanation for the lack of debate around ethical issues in healthcare in Ireland in the past (McDonnell and Allison, 2006). However, given the increasingly secularised nature of contemporary Irish society (Inglis, 1998), it is no longer feasible to attribute an ongoing lack of debate to this source. Moreover, simple stereotyping based on conceptions of Catholicism or secularism is largely

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
Perspectives from the Neary and Halappanavar cases

ever followed. On the one hand Neary’s personality might have had an impact on how such concerns were being dealt with. As the report describes: ‘Dr Neary had a strong personality with very strong views on many subjects and his demeanour and mood had a major influence on the unit’ (Harding Clark, 2006: 12). General fear regarding job insecurity among existing staff was perceived as a further factor in the silencing of dissent (Harding Clark, 2006: 38, 41). In addition, a strict Catholic ethos underpinned obstetric and gynaecological services and strictly limited

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare

, then this would seem unreasonably arbitrary and contrary to patient-­centred care (Wilkinson and Truog, 2013). There is some empirical support in the literature for the existence of this notion of doctor-­dominated decisions, especially with regard to value-­laden and contentious decisions. This matter has most frequently been explored with regard to religion. Seale (2010) found that physicians who described themselves as non-­religious were more likely than others to report having given continuous deep sedation until death, having taken decisions they expected or

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
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Examining Ireland’s failure to regulate embryonic stem cell research

-­makers must accommodate these differing moral beliefs while providing for a coherent set of legally binding rules or principles. This difficulty is compounded by the increasingly pluralistic nature of society in recent years, which has made reaching a consensus much more difficult. Rawls has stated that: The political culture of a democratic society is always marked by a diversity of opposing and irreconcilable religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines. Some of these are perfectly reasonable, and this diversity among reasonable doctrines political liberalism sees as the

in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare