Health Minister should focus on health crisis and not ‘exclusion zones’ - Students For Life

Health Minister should focus on health crisis and not ‘exclusion zones’ - Students For Life
Students For Life Ireland at a protest outside the Dail

Students For Life Ireland, a pro-life student group, have called on the Health Minister, Simon Harris, to prioritise the ever growing health crisis over legislation creating 'safe access zones' around hospitals.

Speaking in response to the Health Minister’s recent remarks on exclusion zones, spokesperson for the group, 21-year-old Luke Silke, a student in NUI Galway, suggested the Minister would be better served dealing with the health crisis.

"Any time the Health Minister gets into political difficulty, whenever there is talk of no confidence motions or negativity of any kind, he immediately reverts back to the abortion issue and takes to twitter, as we saw during the week, to self-congratulate himself on successfully repealing all constitutional protection for the unborn child.

Mr Silke went on to say Students For Life Ireland felt the government wqere not doing enough to ensure that women in crisis situations do not feel that abortion is their only option.

"Supports must be put in place to ensure that women in crisis pregnancies do not feel pressurised financially to have an abortion”, he said.

Mr Silke said the protests outside hospital were pro-life groups last chance people to offer women such supports.

"Exclusion zones would prevent us from doing this. Students For Life Ireland do feel that there is a deliberate attempt by the Minister and abortion campaigners to stereotype or pigeonhole us. The use of the term ‘safe access zones’ by campaigners and the Minister is deliberately inflammatory – it implies that pro-life people are a dangerous threat, which is an incredibly unfair way to depict a sizeable chunk of the voting public.

"There is nothing ‘safe’ about abortion, it is the only procedure performed by a doctor which is deemed a failure if the baby survives, and a success if the baby’s life is ended”.

Health Minister should focus on health crisis and not ‘exclusion zones’ - Students For Life

The group went on to say it has always been of the view that sensitivity is warranted during vigils outside abortion-providing clinics or hospitals, and that no woman should ever face harassment.

"We share the Garda Commissioner’s view, however, that the existing legislation around harassment is sufficient and we believe that an introduction of ‘exclusion zones’ would be unconstitutional and undemocratic.

"Last year the government voted against some very humane amendments to the abortion bill, which were tabled by pro-life politicians. An amendment seeking to ensure that the unborn be granted pain relief prior to late term abortion was defeated. These zones are not ‘safe zones’ for the human beings, no different to us but in size, whose lives are being ended within the zones”, he concluded.

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