Minister must legislate for Exclusion Zones at hospitals and clinics

24 September 2019

Dublin Castle on 26 May 2018

Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik has called for Exclusion Zones around hospitals and clinics to be prioritised in the upcoming Dáil term.

The comments come ahead of six weeks of planned protests by an anti-choice group outside the National Maternity Hospital due to begin tomorrow.

Senator Bacik said:

“I am very concerned at the reports about a protest being organised from tomorrow by a US-based anti-choice group outside Holles Street National Maternity Hospital.

“Protests of this kind outside hospitals and clinics are intimidating for all those seeking to access medical services, for any visitors and for staff seeking access to work. In particular, such protests may have the effect of obstructing access to services for pregnant women, many of whom may be in crisis situations.

“Exclusion Zones were not included in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 when it came into law in January, despite many of us seeking to have such zones included in the law then.

“These zones are used to ensure access to abortion services, and are in effect already in other countries, including parts of Canada, Australia, and the US.

“Minister Harris has promised standalone legislation on it here, but this has still not been introduced. I am disappointed that it is not given greater prominence or urgency in the legislative programme for Government for the upcoming Dáil term.

“Legislation providing for access to abortion services is not enough- we also need to ensure that women have safe access and are protected when they seek out abortion services.”