RoI ‘censorship zones’ would prevent women from hearing ‘a better solution than abortion’

Women in the Republic of Ireland should not be prevented from hearing about alternatives to abortion outside buildings where abortions take place, a Senator has said.

Under the Government’s Health (Termination of Pregnancy Services) (Safe Access Zones) Bill, people who offer advice or otherwise seek to assist pregnant women within 100 metres of an abortion centre will be committing a criminal offence. Repeat offenders could face a €2,500 fine, or up to six months in prison.

But speaking at Committee Stage, Independent Senator Rónán Mullen urged the Irish Government not to “curtail free speech” by elevating abortion “above scrutiny to a literally unprecedented degree”.


Senator Mullen highlighted that the Garda Commissioner has conceded that there are already laws in place to tackle problematic behaviour. He said there are those who just want to “witness to human dignity” and the fact that abortion is not “bona fide healthcare”.

“There are people who have suffered themselves as a result of abortion and who have hopes regarding the effect of their peaceful and respectful presence within the vicinity of a healthcare facility, without knowing who is going in for what”.

He debunked allegations that pro-lifers want to confront women, saying: “Nobody is in anybody’s face here, and nobody wants to be in anybody’s face here. Let those who do want to be in somebody’s face be targeted by the public order legislation. Let us have no more of this dishonesty from the Government.”


Senator Sharon Keogan, who lost two children through miscarriage, said: “The right of citizens to freely organise legitimate protests, gatherings and rallies that stand for the pro-life message must be protected.

“No evidence has been produced by the Minister that any public order offences were ever recorded – not one piece of evidence.

“I am shocked that a Government is so afraid of the people of faith of this country who gather quietly outside the hospitals and centres. To bring this draconian legislation in is a sad day for free speech in this country, and a sad day for the unborn.”


According to recent figures, the number of abortions in Ireland reached a record high last year.

Data released to Carol Nolan TD from the Health Service Executive revealed that GPs made 9,218 claims for “Combined termination procedure and aftercare” between January and November 2023, almost 23 per cent more than the year before.

The figures do not cover abortions performed in hospitals, which could take the overall number to more than 10,000.

Also see:

Baby foot

Medical ethicists: ‘Reclassify pregnancy as a disease, with abortion the cure’

Pro-abortion columnist: ‘Decriminalisation a step too far’

Over 700 medics urge MPs to cut abortion limit to 22 weeks

Related Resources