04/01/2019

Harassment By Anti-Abortion Groups Highlights Need For Buffer Zones

The need for buffer or exclusion zones outside health facilities has been highlighted by the harassment of women attending a GP clinic in Galway by anti-abortion groups.

Making the call, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly, said: "The 1st of January marked a historic day in this State as abortion services became legal. This was a huge victory for all who had campaigned for Repeal of the 8th amendment and those who worked to try to ensure that the services would deliver for women.

"Throughout the debate on the legislation to underpin these services I, and many others, spoke at length on the need for buffer zones and protections for patients and doctors to protect them from harassment from anti-abortion groups.

"Indeed, I put forward amendments to the legislation to ensure that there would be legal protections for patients and doctors and sanctions for those harassing patients who attend GP clinics to access these services.

"The Minister stated he believed this was unnecessary as the government were bringing forward their own legislation.

"Now, less than three days into the delivery of abortion services anti-abortion groups have assembled to harass women and patients attending a GP clinic in Galway."

Deputy O'Reilly described the actions as "deplorable" but it was ultimately unsurprising.

She continued: "The Minister needs to indicate the definitive time-frame for this legislation to be implemented and he must also outline what he is doing to ensure the safety of patients and GPs in the meantime.

"For anyone experiencing a crisis pregnancy, they should not be afraid of this harassment, they can call 1800 828 010 and discuss all their options in confidence."

(MH/CM)

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