Dáil Éireann backs ‘undemocratic’ abortion censorship zones

The Irish Parliament’s lower house has voted in favour of abortion censorship zones, despite warnings they are undemocratic.

The Government’s Health (Termination of Pregnancy Services) (Safe Access Zones) Bill will now pass to the Seanad for consideration.

Under the Bill, people who offer advice or seek to influence pregnant women within 100 metres of an abortion clinic are committing a criminal offence. Repeat offenders could face a €2,500 fine, or up to six months in prison.

Dangerous precedent

During the debate, Deputy Peadar Tóibín said: “Any measure of a democracy is how it tolerates different views or those different from establishment views.

this Bill starts to eliminate spaces where people can respectfully and peacefully protest

“I am concerned this Bill starts to eliminate spaces where people can respectfully and peacefully protest about these issues.”

And Deputy Seán Canney expressed “serious reservations about the idea of bringing in legislation to more or less curtail people from expressing a view”.

Right to life

Pro-life Deputy Danny Healy-Rae said: “I am glad that I was born and am able to see this life. I am sad that that is not the case for so many little babies who have been conceived but will not see the light of day.”

“The mother has rights, but every one of us must remember that the little baby has rights after being conceived.”

“I do not think it is democratic at all to try to stymie people or block them from going anywhere near where abortions may be taking place.”

Speaking on behalf of pro-life groups in Kerry, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said: “They do not want to see their right of assembly and their right to say what they think stopped.”


In October, a man and a woman became the first to be arrested under Northern Ireland’s new abortion ‘buffer zones’ law.

And last December, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, Director of pro-life charity March for Life UK, was arrested for silently praying outside an abortion clinic in England while it was closed.

A Bill to ban peaceful protesting outside hospitals and abortion centres has also recently been launched in Scotland.

Also see:

The All Ireland Rally for Life

Police end investigation into pro-lifer’s silent prayer

Solemn witness to ‘10 million lives extinguished by abortion’

RC Archbishop decries censorship of ‘respectful pro-life witness’ in NI

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