Coffey puts forward motion to have ‘safe zone’ around abortion providers
Louth County Council is to seek a legal opinion on whether it can pass a motion in favour of bye-laws ensuring a ‘safe zone’ around abortion providers.
The motion, the first of its kind in Ireland, has been put forward by Fianna Fáil Councillor Emma Coffey and would prevent anti-abortion campaigners from approaching or canvassing anyone visiting an abortion clinic in the county.
The wording of the bye-law is as follows:
“Louth County Council in exercise of the powers conferred on it by section 199 of the Local Government Act 2001 hereby makes the following bye-laws for the regulation and control of public roads and footpaths adjacent to service providers of abortion services within the county of Louth to exclude any form of prohibited behaviour within a 500 meter area from the outer edge of the healthcare facility.
“For the purposes of these bye-laws, ‘prohibited behaviour’ shall include but not limited to:
- Continuously or repeatedly observing a service provider or other person accessing a healthcare facility
- Continuously or repeatedly observing a healthcare facility
- Engaging in threatening conduct directed at the service provider or a person known to them
- Besetting, harassing, intimidating interfering with, threatening, hindering, obstructing or impeding a person who is attempting to enter a healthcare facility
- In any way recording a service provider, or a person accessing, or attempting to access a healthcare facility without that person’s consent, or publishing or distributing a recording so obtained, except in discharge of police duty
- Recording information about a person accessing, or attempting to access a healthcare facility without that person’s consent, or publishing or distributing information so obtained, except in discharge of police duty
- Distributing or displaying any leaflets, pamphlets, notices, advertisements or other documentation
- Affixing bills, posters or stickers upon any wall, door, pole, structure, vehicle, floor or pavement or on any surface forming part of, or used in relation to the healthcare facility
- Conducting or taking part in public meetings, demonstrations or processions
Cllr Coffey said people should be able to access healthcare centres without having protesters at the entrances and hopes it can be implemented within the county.