Irish Examiner view: Abortion clinic protests amount to intimidation

Protesters must work within the law
Irish Examiner view: Abortion clinic protests amount to intimidation

A protest against abortion at the gates of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. Picture Ciara Wilkinson

A number of America’s Catholic hierarchy supported that country’s last president because he, improbably, promised to realign abortion laws with their religious beliefs. 

Whether that support showed principles all too amenable to opportunity or simply grievous misjudgment only history can tell. 

No such vulnerability attaches itself to our abortion laws. The 36th Amendment was endorsed through referendum by a majority of 66.4% in May 2018.

Despite that clear decision, a number of anti-abortion protesters, like some of America’s hierarchy, persistently defy that 66.4% mandate. 

Since 2018, anti-abortion protests have been held in at least nine counties. Research shows that campaigners, despite that clear vote, have targeted GP surgeries, clinics, and maternity hospitals in Galway, Cork, Drogheda, and Dublin. 

Though these protests target institutions, business and the law, the brunt of these interventions is borne by those who choose to use these services.

There was hardly an issue as bitterly contested in this State’s history as abortion legislation. 

Despite that, the electorate made a clear statement and, unless, or until, legislation is amended, our current situation is the law. Those who want to change it must work within our political framework. 

If legislation is needed to confine those efforts to that arena and end intimidating clinic protests it should be provided quickly.

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