herald

Monday 22 October 2018

Abortion row priest blocked cancer trials

THE priest who has ruled out abortions at Dublin's Mater Hospital had previously objected to cancer drug trials at the hospital – because it would have required the women involved to use contraceptives.

Fr Kevin Doran, a member of the Mater hospital board of governors, has said the hospital "cannot comply" with the new Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act because it goes against the hospital ethos.

Fr Doran was previously one of a three-person sub-committee at the hospital that halted clinical trials for a cancer drug.

The drug Tarceva was already being tested at Tallaght and Beaumont hospitals, where it has since become a frontline treatment for lung cancer.

Fr Doran, along with Sr Eugene Nolan and businessman John Morgan, all board members, objected to the trial because a leaftlet given to female patients taking part required them to use contraception during the treatment.

They said this contravened the hospital ethos and the trial was held up for several weeks before a meeting of the whole board gave it the green light.

Now Fr Doran said he was objecting to the new law which gives the green light for abortions where the life of the woman was at risk.

"The Mater can't carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos," he said.

"What's happening is the minister is saying hospitals are not entitled to have an ethos."

The Mater hospital is one of 25 where abortions may be carried out.

A spokesman told The Herald that the board was due to meet in the coming weeks "to form a definitive position".

He said the opinions of Fr Doran were his personal opinions and not those of the board.

The Catholic voluntary hospital is part-owned by the Sisters of Mercy who founded it in 1861.

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