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Woman denied pill on
By Claire O’Sullivan
Saturday, August 28, 2010
A KERRY woman had to
travel to Cork to get the morning-after-pill after she was refused the
emergency contraception on "religious grounds".
Now women’s health
lobby group Choice Ireland has called for emergency contraception to be
made available over-the-counter
The group claims women have said they are forced to travel to clinics
outside Kerry as doctors there won’t give them the pill.
One woman said she had to travel to Cork the following day after she was
refused the contraception at SouthDoc in Tralee and couldn’t find any
other GP surgery that was open on a Sunday.
The morning-after contraceptive pill can be taken for up to 72 hours
after unprotected sex but the earlier it is taken, the more effective it
Spokeswoman for Choice Ireland Sinead Ahern said it is unfair for women
to be forced to pay up to €60 for a GP appointment to obtain the pill,
before they even pay for their prescription.
"The need for a prescription to obtain the morning -after-pill is a
significant burden in itself," she said.
"A woman must first find a GP who will see her – which can be
difficult at the weekend, when demand for the pill is highest – and
then pay the roughly €60 visit fee, on top of the charge for the pill.
"The longer the delay, the less effective the pill. This poses a
particular problem for women in rural areas where access to GPs can be
very limited, especially at weekends," she added.
"It is totally unacceptable that a woman can be denied the pill on
the basis of that GP’s personal views.
"Medical professionals should act professionally and not allow
their religious or ethical beliefs to interfere with the job they are
paid to do.
"It is incumbent on the HSE to ensure that patients are not placed
in a position where the only doctor available to them is allowed an
‘opt-out’ of the treatment they require."
The morning-after pill is available over the counter in Britain, and in
When contacted yesterday, SouthDoc in Tralee said that they could not
comment on doctor-patient exchanges as that would breach patient
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and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
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