Some ICGP members in support of a petition for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on abortion have said they are considering their continued membership of the College after it refused to grant their request.
In early March more than 600 GPs signed a petition calling on the ICGP to hold an EGM on abortion. The petition proposed several motions for debate.
In a recent response from the ICGP, it said that the most appropriate arena through which to debate motions was at its forthcoming EGM in Dublin in May.
The board of the ICGP has agreed to hold a debate on termination of pregnancy at the business session of the AGM on 4 May. Members now have until 12 April to submit motions for debate.
“This mechanism will allow members to debate and vote on motions as they may wish,” the response outlines.
The letter is signed by College President Dr John O’Brien, Chair Dr John Gillman and CEO Mr Fintan Foy.
Members who submitted the petition have reacted angrily to the decision, with some indicating their intention to resign their membership of the ICGP.
The ICGP response points out that more than 300 GPs are providing abortion services and asks that their work be respected.
“The members of the board are your colleagues and they carry out their duties in the best interest of the patient, the college and its 3,600 members acting at all times in accordance with the constitution of the college. We would ask that this is respected.”
The letter directly responds to each of the five motions submitted in early March, stating that the service is “opt in”, which means that the College cannot “dictate to members whether they provide or do not provide terminations in their own practice”.
The College also states that pre and post-abortion counselling for those who do not wish to provide abortions is already part of College plans to providee training on termination services.
The letter also confirms that no career progression disadvantage “will arise whether GPs opt in or opt out to providing terminations”.