Campaigners warn of pro-life attacks outside hospitals unless exclusion zones are introduced

Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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:

We have actually been promised safe exclusion zones for women they need to come very promptly. We’re very concerned that in the autumn there may be attacks or at least demonstrations outside surgeries, clinics, hospitals.

“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."

Niall and Helen Stonehouse with four-week-old baby Liadh, from Cabra, at a launch to mark the one-year anniversary of the referendum vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
Niall and Helen Stonehouse with four-week-old baby Liadh, from Cabra, at a launch to mark the one-year anniversary of the referendum vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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.

More on this topic

Another woman in ‘weak’ position being told what to do with baby

Health Minister calls on HSE to query consultants' abortion services concerns

Kilkenny hospital unsuited to abortions, say medics

Tiffany Haddish cancels show in US state over anti-abortion legislation

More in this Section

Single father inspired to build retro arcade machine to connect with teenage son

Cork mail centre closure a 'strategic mistake' says Micheál Martin

Homeless couple face court action for occupation of empty council house

IGB: Unacceptable greyhounds are killed because they're allegedly 'not fast enough'


Lifestyle

Photographer David Magee in the frame for exhibition in Cork's Lavit Gallery

8 reasons to follow in Greta Thunberg’s tracks and travel through Europe by train this summer

4 ways to break the decor rules and rock a boho vibe at home

The A-Z guide of travelling with children

More From The Irish Examiner