Speaking following the passage of the Safe Access To Termination of Pregnancy Bill, of which he is a co-sponsor, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has said this afternoon;
“I want to congratulate the Together for Safety Campaign for their hard work and energy on this piece of legislation.
“This Bill passed in the Seanad today ensures that women and pregnant people will be protected at healthcare settings, and I would urge that it be swiftly passed through the Dáil to complete its passage into law.
“The cross-party support thus far, which includes government Senators, has been very welcome and very productive in this instance and I would hope that the Bill gets the same support going forward.
“I am glad that in the absence of legislation coming forward from the government, that they have thrown their support behind this Bill.
“We need this legislation to prevent the harassment of women and pregnant people outside healthcare facilities where protests and intimidation is taking place.
“It has been done in the north and there is no reason why we can’t do it here.
“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 GP’s.
“Women and pregnant people have a right to dignity and privacy when accessing healthcare and they have waited too long already.”