Carlow Nationalist – Dr Mary Favier calls for safe areas in abortion centers

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By PA Sport staff

Dr Mary Favier, of the Irish College of General Practitioners, expressed surprise at reports over the weekend that the government had abandoned plans to introduce safe access areas outside maternity wards and clinics offering services abortion.

Initial reports suggested that the health ministry would use existing public order laws to control any protest outside maternity hospitals or GP surgeries with no plans to introduce safe access zones. .

This was a turnaround from 2018, when then health minister Simon Harris said establishing 100m safe zones around facilities providing abortion services was a priority for the government and pledged to accelerate measures to ensure that women and staff are protected from intimidation.

Secured access

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

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

“It was originally intended to provide safe access to termination of pregnancy services in the 2018 Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act. However, a number of legal issues have been identified and required further examination. “

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

Abortion was a health problem and was part of routine health care. Not everyone who goes to a general practice or clinic is looking for an abortion.

Legislation

Dr Favier said she welcomed the minister’s “turnaround” as it was important to move forward on this issue. It was very unfair for the protesters to be outside the National Maternity Hospital with tiny white coffins when there were women who had experienced stillbirths. It was “heartbreaking” for them.

“I’m not saying people can’t protest, they can, but in a suitable place, not where the services are provided. “

Safe zones legislation has been successfully introduced 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, this meant that if protesters showed up at a GP’s office, they could “pick up the phone” and call the local guard station which could then act.

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