Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) received an abusive letter last week hitting out at the fact that it is providing abortion services.
A consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at CUMH, Dr Keelin O'Donoghue revealed the letter was sent directly to her desk and said there is very little protection or support for conscientious providers working in a minority in hospitals.
She tweeted that it was the first, but no doubt not the last, abusive letter regarding termination of pregnancy services the hospital expects to receive.
She added that there is little protection or support for conscientious providers working in a minority in hospitals and queried what the HSE and Department of Health plan to do about it.
Speaking to the Echo previously, Cork GPs raised concerns that women accessing abortion services and doctors providing them may be targets of abuse and threats.
A meeting organised by the Southern Task group on Abortion and Reproductive Topics (START), was due to take place in University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) in December but was cancelled for security reasons.
There were reports earlier this month of protests from pro-life groups outside GP offices in Galway.
Some GPs have expressed concerns that this type of protests and abuse may deter GPs who provide the service from going public, and women from attending.
“Some are reluctant to advertise the service in case we or our patients get targeted,” a city GP and a member of the START group told the Echo.
“My main concern is that it would cause a chill effect for women and it would deter them from even thinking about going to their GP.
“The whole purpose of repealing the Eighth and having this service in general practice, is so a woman would come and sit in the waiting room with everyone else and no one would know why she was there and it would become normalised,” added the Cork GP.
“If there are going to be protests, it’s going to cause fear and unnecessary distress for women who are seeking this service.
“That's very distressing, particularly for the likes of the women who have come to me in the past day even, who are experiencing crisis pregnancies.
“That must be really upsetting for patients.” “Some of the women who have come to me are in the midst of a crisis pregnancy and this would be extremely distressing for them.
“It would be really upsetting for them if they were to encounter that.” Another Cork GP said:
“Women should not have to walk past protestors with graphic posters of abortions to access a legal service.”