Campaigners are warning of pro-life attacks outside hospitals if laws on exclusion zones are not immediately introduced.
Speaking at a celebration marking one year since the historic referendum to repeal the eighth amendment, Together for Yes co-director, Ailbhe Smyth, said women attending clinics are still at risk of attack because of delays to the legislation:
“It’s perfectly clear that until such time as we have that legislation that there is a continuing risk and danger for women. We have not seen an intensification of protests, however, that could happen at any time and we therefore need to be prepared,” Ms Smyth said.
Ms Smyth was also very critical of the three-day “cooling off period". She said the period is causing hardship for people who need an abortion.
She said: “Women don’t need to be told what to do, women should be able to make that choice up to 12 weeks freely and to not really, be humiliated and insulted by being told she needs to go back and think again. When a woman goes to her doctor, she knows what she wants to do and that needs to be respected."
Fellow co-director, Orla O’Connor, said the Together for Yes campaign has also inspired a new wave of women to become involved in politics.
She said many involved in the repeal campaign have since joined political parties and have also been vocal in issues around housing, the climate crisis and violence against women: “I think one of the things Together for Yes did was absolutely, sort of energise and mobilise a whole new group of young women in terms of political campaigning and I think we can see that right now."
“There’s a lot more to do in terms of reproductive rights.”
Those involved in Together for Yes will be meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris tomorrow to recognise the anniversary and to speak about what needs to be done next.
“We will be meeting with Simon Harris to recognise the fact that we’re here, one year from the referendum and we will be raising that with him. Where is that legislation and where is the access to free contraception?” Ms O’Connor said.
Ms O'Connor also highlighted the fact that women in Northern Ireland still do not have access to abortion services.