Irish Liberals Tighten the Screw

Pro-Life campaigners in Ireland face even tougher restrictions against their work for unborn children. The Irish Parliament has approved a Bill banning pro-life witness outside abortion centres.

The Health (Termination of Pregnancy) (Safe Access Zones) Bill was approved by the Seanad and had already completed all stages in the Dáil. It will now be referred to President Michael D Higgins who will sign it into law.

The legislation will ban any pro-life presence within 100 metres of facilities where abortion services are provided, including abortion centres, women’s health clinics, and GP surgeries.

The legislation was opposed by Senators Mullen and Keogan, who moved several amendments to improve it, but these were all rejected by the Seanad.

During the debate, Senator Mullen said: “It is quite clear that this legislation is unprecedented. It interferes with normal freedom of expression in a very surprising and unexpected way.”

He said that “solid and responsible citizens” could be put at risk of public harassment by the the gardaí, simply for “objecting to something they regard as a breach of fundamental authentic human rights”.

Senator Mullen was critical of the way the legislation had been pushed through by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, saying: “The Minister has got an easy win for himself by caving in to an activist group and by attacking the peaceful expression of dissent on abortion.

“He has nothing to be proud of here I am afraid. He has shown himself not to be a democrat. He has praised his officials for working night and day on an agenda to deprive the basic freedom of witnessing the dignity of every human life born and unborn.

“There is nothing safe about safe access zones. There is nothing safe about what happens to the unborn child in an abortion situation.”

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