Passage of Safe Access Zones legislation in Seanad a step in the right direction

Senator Annie Hoey image
07 April 2022

Welcoming the passage of the Safe Access Zone legislation through the Seanad, Labour Senator and health committee member Annie Hoey has said the delay in implementing legislation to protect women accessing abortion services highlights the ground that still must be made for women’s reproductive healthcare in Ireland.

Senator Hoey said:

“Today represents a step in the right direction for people who need access to abortion care. Dignity and privacy are two things that every patient attending their GP or hospital has a right to expect. We have a long and sad history in this country of judging, penalising and shamming people for their reproductive choices. It is my hope that this legislation will go some way in ending this culture.

“We know just how vital this legislation is. Earlier this week we heard harrowing testimony from Dr Mary Favier about targeted protests at GP clinics which not only inflicts pain on abortion patients, but on all patients and people working in clinics. We are also well aware of the so-called “vigils” regularly held outside of hospitals and this intimidating behaviour has huge a huge impact for all pregnant women, their partners and staff.

“The referendum campaign triggered a national conversation about the adverse effects of prohibiting abortion; we heard powerful testimonies from those whose lives were touched by tragedy because of draconian laws outlawing abortion. Following the repeal referendum, we must now ensure that our legislation provides effective protection for women’s reproductive healthcare rights.

“As it is, abortion is one of the few services that a patient already must worry about being provided for by their GP – only 10% of GPs nationally are providing at the moment. While we celebrate the win today, we know that there is more work to be done to ensure safe, free and legal access to abortion in Ireland.”

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