Abortion rights protesters attend rally in Dublin


Hundreds of abortion rights protesters attended a rally outside Leinster House this afternoon, ahead of an upcoming review of current abortion law.

The protest was organized by the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) and speakers called for the full decriminalization of abortion and greater availability of services.

ARC spokeswoman JoAnne Neary said that despite the repeal of the 8th Amendment following the 2018 referendum, “there were far too many gaps in the abortion offer in Ireland. “, And there was” a lack of understanding of the difficulty of accessing abortion in Ireland today “.

Ms Neary said that with only half of maternity clinics and a small percentage of GPs providing abortion services, there are large parts of the country where these services were not provided, especially in rural areas.

Ms Neary also criticized the 12 week limit for abortions; the mandatory three-day wait before a woman is allowed to undergo the procedure; and that physicians can refuse to perform terminations.

Among those who addressed the crowd was Yvie Murphy of Together for Safety, who is campaigning for safe access zones around health facilities offering abortion services.

Ms Murphy called the introduction of such legislation “incredibly urgent” and said she had received reports from across the country of “harassment and intimidation … outside of general practitioners, nursing homes. health and maternity “.

In a statement, the health ministry said the minister was “committed to ensuring safe access to pregnancy termination services, and that the area remains an ongoing priority.”

He said Stephen Donnelly was “aware of reports of certain protests which have caused distress to those accessing and providing services” and “plans to have proposals for safe access areas in the legislative agenda. of spring 2022 “.

However, anti-abortion activist Cora Sherlock said “people have the right to free speech.”

On the upcoming review of abortion law, Ms. Sherlock said there was a need to “ensure that doctors who disagree ethically with abortion … are allowed to say no”.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that the minister intends to appoint an independent expert in the coming weeks, to lead the review of the 2018 Health Law (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy).

He said that “the review will include a three-part approach to assess the operation of the law, with components focused on service users, service providers and public consultation.”

He also said that “all interested groups, organizations and members of the public” will be invited to provide their views to inform the review.


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