Exclusion Zones needed to ensure safe access to abortion

18 February 2019

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has called for swift action by the Minister for Health to tackle the issue of Exclusion Zones to protect vulnerable women who seek access to legal abortion services.

Senator Bacik said;

"Given the reporting today on plans by US-based anti-choice groups, who have very intimidating means of targeting women, and who now plan to bring their activities to Ireland, this issue has become even more pertinent.

”Exclusion Zones were not included in the legislation for abortion passed in December and many of us raised this issue during the debates at the time, and warned about the risk of protests outside clinics.

“The Minister for Health should not allow the practice of intimidation of women outside GP offices and health clinics to take hold before he acts. He should seek to amend current legislation or bring in new law if necessary, as soon as possible.

“Exclusion Zones restricting protests, or those seeking to obstruct access to abortion services are in effect already in other countries, including parts of Canada, Australia, and the US.

“Law providing for access to abortion services is not enough, we must ensure that women have safe access too. We must pass laws as soon as possible to prevent the intimidation and obstruction of women in a crisis pregnancy who seek to access legal services.

“The Minister must take action on this now, and I am sure that this would be widely supported by opposition Parties in the Oireachtas.”