Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has urged government parties to support legislation to create safe zones around facilities for people accessing abortion services.
Senator Gavan is a co-sponsor of the Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill 2021, which will reach final stage in the Seanad tomorrow afternoon.
Senator Gavan said:
“Tomorrow afternoon, the Seanad has an important opportunity to back legislation to create safe access zones around facilities providing abortion services when the Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill 2021 reaches second stage. I am urging all government parties to do the right thing and back this bill tomorrow.
“Together for Safety has put together a Bill that has been carefully drafted by legal experts, reviewed by unions, medical professional bodies, and human rights organisations, and they are to be highly commended for their work on this.
“This Bill has been initiated in the Seanad, it has been co-signed by a broad range of Senators, including government party Senators. It has been widely supported up to this point and tomorrow it reaches report and final stages. This support needs to continue to bring it to the Dáíl, and allow it to undergo scrutiny at Dáil Committee stage.
“The government have been promising safe access legislation for 4 years now. Unfortunately the Government still has no Bill of its own and the Department of Health confirmed just two weeks ago that it is unable to provide a timeline for a Bill, so the opportunity to pass the legislation is now, with the Bill before us in the Seanad.
“The Bill itself would not prevent protest but it would prevent harassment of women and pregnant people who are accessing termination of pregnancy services.
“Last year, the HSE acknowledged that the lack of legislation for safe access is directly affecting the number of GP’s signing up to provide services- which is currently at a rate of just 10% of GPs.
“The issue of safe access needs to be addressed urgently and women and pregnant people cannot be left waiting any longer. The government must do the right thing tomorrow.”
The Bill will be discussed in the Seanad tomorrow from 1.15pm