Harris Plans 'Exclusion Zones' Around Abortion Centres
The Government is planning to make it illegal to protest within a certain distance outside premises providing abortions. Sources say Health Minister Simon Harris wants to create exclusion zones, or 'buffer zones', to ‘protect’ patients. The proviso will form part of legislation currently being drawn up to introduce abortion in Ireland.
The minister is said to be conscious of balancing any such prohibitions with the well- established right to freedom of expression, of which the right to protest is key.
Meanwhile, the Government is also considering subsidising the cost of abortions. Sources say that while the Department of Health is only beginning negotiations with GPs about how to provide abortions, Mr Harris is said to be eager to ensure that access to abortion forms part of State-provided healthcare for women. It may even come under the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, which provides State-supported family doctor and hospital care for expectant mothers and their babies.
Irish Independent. May 31.