learn > news

Latest News

Abortion Working Group concerned over planned 40 days of protests outside Maternity Hospital

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Abortion Working Group, chaired by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), today expressed concerns that the failure to introduce Safety Zone legislation means an anti-abortion protest, planned for 40 days outside the national maternity hospital, will proceed next week without protections in place for women and staff.

The Abortion Working Group, made up of 23 groups working together to ensure safe access to abortion, met today in Dublin and called for the urgent introduction of legislation for safety zones.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“In spite of multiple commitments by this Government and the Minister for Health, including the most recent commitment to present legislation before the summer recess, we are no closer to achieving safety zones. The result of the repeal referendum gave a very clear mandate to government to provide safe access to abortion in Ireland. Deliberately intimidating protests by anti-abortion campaigners outside healthcare clinics however presents a serious barrier to both women trying to access services and healthcare providers committed to providing them.”

Dr Mary Favier, Spokesperson, Doctors for Choice said,

 “Safe access zone legislation must be implemented urgently. As of today, the Abortion Working Group is calling on the Minister for Health to provide a clear roadmap to women and providers as to when they can expect safety access zones to be in place around healthcare centres. There have already been deplorable and preventable protests outside healthcare facilities, and we need action now. The urgent passage of this legislation will protect both all those needing abortion care and their doctors, ending demonstrations near hospitals or primary care centres where abortions are being provided, and show a zero tolerance approach to any attempts to coerce and intimidate women.”


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications at NWCI, 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie 

Mara Clarke of Abortion Support Network and Doireann Ansbro of Irish Council for Civil Liberties are also available for comment on anti-abortion protests and Safety Zone legislation. 

Notes to the Editor:

The Abortion Working Group, chaired by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), was established in early 2019 to provide a space for information sharing and collective advocacy for groups working on the issue of access to abortion in Ireland.

 Abortion Working Group members: Abortion Rights Campaign; Abortion Support Network; Alliance for Choice; Amnesty Ireland; BelongTo; Cairde; Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment; Disabled Women Ireland; Doctors for Choice; Dublin Well Woman Centre; Gynaecology & Obstetrics Women’s Network (GOWN); Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL); Inclusion Ireland; Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA); Lawyers for Choice; National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN); National Traveller Women's Forum; National Women’s Council of Ireland; Start Group; Transgender Equality NetworkIreland (TENI); Termination for Medical Reasons; Women’s Aid; Union of Students in Ireland (USI).