Dr Mary Favier calls for safe zones at abortion facilities

ireland
Dr Mary Favier Calls For Safe Zones At Abortion Facilities
Dr Mary Favier has expressed surprise at weekend reports that the Government had dropped plans to introduce safe access zones outside maternity hospitals and clinics providing abortion services.
Share this article

By PA Sport Staff

Dr Mary Favier, of the Irish College of General Practitioners, has expressed surprise at weekend reports that the Government had dropped plans to introduce safe access zones outside maternity hospitals and clinics providing abortion services.

Initial reports suggested that the Department of Health was going to rely on existing public order laws to police any protests outside maternity hospitals or GP practices with no plans to introduce safe access zones.

This was a U-turn from 2018, when then Minister for Health Simon Harris said establishing 100m safe zones around facilities providing abortion services was a priority for Government and promised to fast-track the measures to ensure women and staff were protected from intimidation.

Safe access

However, the current Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly clarified the position and said that officials in his department “continue to work with me to ensure safe access around medical facilities.

Advertisement

“I am fully committed to the introduction of legislation on safe access zones around our healthcare facilities. This commitment is in the Programme for Government.

“It was originally intended to provide for safe access to termination of pregnancy services in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. However, a number of legal issues were identified which necessitated further consideration.”

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today show, Dr Favier said that the safe zones were necessary as the purpose of pickets was to intimidate patients and staff. “It has to stop.”

Abortion was a health care issue and was part of routine health care. Not everybody attending at a general practice or clinic was seeking an abortion.

Legislation

Dr Favier said she welcomed the “turn around” by the Minister as it was important to move on this issue. It was very unfair for protesters to be outside the National Maternity Hospital with tiny white coffins when there were women coming out who had experienced stillbirth. It was “heartbreaking” for them.

“I’m not saying that people can’t protest, they can, but in an appropriate place, not where services are being provided.”

Safe zone legislation had been introduced successfully in other countries, she said, it would send “a really important message” that there was support for a legal service. Once the legislation was in place it meant that if protesters turned up at a GP’s surgery they could “pick up the phone” and call the local garda station who could then act.

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2021, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com