mat hospKeep religion out of our hospitals

People Before Profit to call on Minister Varadkar to intervene in National Maternity Hospital dispute

People Before Profit spokesperson, Brid Smith TD, has said that allegations that the religious order, the Sisters of Charity, that runs St. Vincent’s Hospital, could seriously restrict reproductive health services such as contraceptive services, IVF, sterilization operations and gender reassignment surgery, are very concerning and should be investigated by the Department of Health.

Deputy Smith has called for the Minister for Health to make a statement on the matter.

The issue arises due to the proposed move of the National Maternity Hospital to St. Vincent’s which operates on a Catholic ethos.

Deputy Smith said “I am very concerned by the allegations that modern medical procedures may be restricted in St. Vincent’s hospitals on Catholic, faith based grounds. For anyone to reject access to modern medical procedures, which are freely available around the world, is a disgrace and morally wrong.

“Access to medical care and procedures should not be a matter that the religious beliefs of the members of hospital boards play any role in. These hospitals are publicly funded and if these services were to be denied to people it would be a national scandal.

“If the allegations prove to be accurate, then, once again we can see the Catholic Church having an interfering effect on matters of state.

“The situation regarding the 8th Amendment, for example, is an ongoing disgrace in this country. We should not be allowing the Catholic Church to decide what medical procedures the people of this state are allowed to avail of. All of these procedures impact directly on the ability of women to have autonomy over their bodies. In nearly all other countries in the developed world abortion is a standard procedure. And yet Ireland remains in the Dark Ages.

“These allegations, if proven, demonstrate the need to get religious prejudice out of the management of our hospitals. Women should be able to access all medical procedures in any hospital in the State. We could be looking at another Savita case in the future if this is not taken seriously and stopped.

“Minister Varadkar should investigate if these allegations are the case, provide evidence that the procedures are available and make a statement on the matter.”