Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Morning After Pill"

A report in the Irish Medical times based on a sample of 100 GP's claims that over two-thirds of GPs believe that some form of legislation should be introduced to allow teenagers to consent to or refuse medical treatment, including the ‘morning-after’ pill. Needless to say what the survey shows in that two thirds of the sample were in agreement with this but this does not necessarily mean that two thirds of all Irish GP's would agree.

The mere idea that doctors should follow what the UK have done is utterly unacceptable. This kind of practice in the UK has caused major difficulties with increased teen pregnancy rates not to mention increased levels of STD's

the report continues; However, only a small minority of those who felt that legislation was undesirable actually felt that the current laws were correct, and under-18s should not be treated as adults.

One hundred GPs were polled by IMT in January on a range of issues affecting healthcare in Ireland. A large majority (70 per cent) agreed that teenagers should have access to such healthcare, and already do informally — they differed only on whether the legislation was necessary. Twenty-seven said no. Three GPs had no opinion.

There were concerns that legislation would create guidelines and protocols that would over-regulate treatment and result in a situation where GPs would be forced to treat against their better judgment.

Some GPs had concerns that opening a debate over the issue might result in ‘outrage’ among lobby groups who could seek to reduce access to contraception or the ‘morning-after’ pill.

Many GPs who agreed that legislation was necessary added the proviso that it should apply only to over-16s. GPs in favour of new regulations were of the opinion that practices surrounding the treatment of teenagers needed to be formalised. It was suggested that doctors should follow guidelines already in place in the UK.
Some GPs were eager to have new legislation to protect them from potential legal action should they prescribe the ‘morning-after’ pill to a teenager against the wishes of her parents.

Others simply wanted to legitimise their position.