The full roll out of termination of early pregnancy services has been prevented at Letterkenny University Hospital because of conscientious objection complications.
It’s one of three hospitals affected nationally with the Department of Health stating that it will be asking the HSE to fully implement abortion services in all maternity hospitals and units by September.
Following the Eighth Amendment referendum last year, Health Minister Simon Harris gave 1 January as the date by which abortion services for pregnancies at 12 weeks or under would be provided.
According to documents seen by the Journal.ie, the rollout of full abortion services has been slower than expected.
Among the hospitals or units where conscientious objections have hindered the rollout of early-pregnancy abortion services are Letterkenny University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and Wexford General Hospital.
A briefing document dated from May 2019 and released to TheJournal.ie under a Freedom of Information request by the Department of Health states that “conscientious objection is still a significant challenge in Letterkenny University Hospital”.
An April document also states that: “The issue in Letterkenny is conscientious objection and no progress has been made as yet to resolve this issue.
The National Women & Infants Health Programme has committed to engage further with Saolta as part of the attempt to resolve the impasse.
Sligo University Hospital also had issues with conscientious objections; in April an update was given that given the length of time needed to recruit, “it is likely to be Q4 before this service commences”.