- 05 Feb 19
On January 1st, abortion became legal in Ireland. Almost as quickly, a bunch of anti-choice ‘protesters’ began to picket outside clinics where abortion services are provided, in an attempt to harass and bully women and hospital staff alike. It could yet be a defining issue of 2019.
Welcome to 2019. Abortion is finally legal in Ireland – but many hospitals have been slow to begin the service. Meanwhile, at least some of those that have done, are being targeted by small mobs of anti-choice placard-wavers. For women, the situation can be extremely intimidating.
Similar aggression occurred in the Victoria region of Australia when abortion was introduced there. “When staff would leave to go get lunch, they would be accosted,” Fiona Patten MP recalls. “There would be people out front telling children with women walking past the clinic, ‘Did you know your mummy is a murderer?’ and ‘Mummy wants to kill your baby brother’. Some would block the path to prevent women entering the building. Sometimes they were very aggressive.”
Since abortion services have become available in Ireland, this practice has been mimicked by anti-abortion demonstrators – with incidents taking place outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda in Co. Louth and the Galvia West Medical Centre, Co. Galway. The demonstrators’ presence, holding placards stating “Warning: Killing In Progress” and “Real Doctors Don’t Terminate Their Patients” are clearly an attempt to intimidate women and staff alike.