Press Release: Legislation for Safe Access Zones is urgently required

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The Abortion Rights Campaign calls on Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, to act on Safe Access Zones.

When legislating for abortion services in 2018, then Health Minister, Simon Harris, acknowledged that the implementation of Safe Access Zones was key to ensuring safe access to abortion. Despite this, in 2021, people still face intimidation from protestors outside maternity hospitals, GPs and healthcare clinics.  

“People access clinics and hospitals for a variety of reasons and they should be able to do so in privacy and without harassment or intimidation. The place for protest is at the Dáil” said Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson, JoAnne Neary

Results from ARC’s research show that many accessing abortion care have experienced “protests and verbal abuse” outside clinics. There were “people doing rosaries and saying hurtful things about going to hell and punishment.” Others encountered “people with coffins outside praying.” This harassment causes significant distress in people trying to access care. One participant in this research stated “This should be illegal, they have no idea what I’ve been through”.  

This intimidation negatively impacts all people accessing clinics and hospitals to varying degrees, but for some it is “horrendous”. Legislation is urgently needed to ensure that patients and their doctors are no longer in fear of anti-abortion harassment outside of healthcare facilities. 

The Abortion Rights Campaign demands that Minister Donnelly make good on his commitment to make legislation for Safe Access Zones his priority.



The Abortion Rights Campaign will be holding a demonstration at the Dáil to mark the 10th Annual March for Choice on Saturday 25th Septmber at 2pm. 

The ARC research paper, ‘Too Many Barriers: Experiences of Abortion in Ireland after Repeal’ is available for download at

For further comment or information:

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Twitter: @freesafelegal