The Irish Government He has already shown his concern for the first episodes of harassment to patients and clinics in which the voluntary interruption of pregnancy is practiced, and has committed to studying extra security measures such as the establishment of safe perimeters around the facilities. A handful of activists gathered Monday at the doors of the Lourdes Hospital, in the town of Drogheda, in response to a call for anti-abortion groups on Twitter. "Lourdes Hospital will practice its first abortion this Monday morning. Please, pray hard for the mother to recognize that the baby is a gift from God, "he had tweeted in his account Ray Kinsella, Professor of Economics at the University of Dublin and notorious fighter of the right to the free interruption of pregnancy.
It has not been the first incident of these characteristics. Last Thursday, another handful of protesters was placed outside the doors of another clinic in the town of Galway.
Since the beginning of the year, Ireland has begun to implement the new law on the termination of pregnancy, backed mostly by a referendum last year and ending decades in which this practice was constitutionally prohibited. At least 200 medical professionals have already committed to assist women who require it. Under the new legal coverage, abortion will be allowed unconditionally during the first 12 weeks of gestation.
The intimidation exercised by anti-abortion groups it has awakened a contrary feeling of a large part of the Irish population. Men and women have also begun to organize themselves through social networks, under the hashtag #SiulLiom (Walk with me, in Irish), and they have committed to accompany the clinics to all women who require their support.
Law professionals such as Mairead Enright, a professor at the University of Birmingham of Irish nationality, have demanded additional legislation to ensure that neither women nor health professionals feel intimidated. "It's about sending a precise message about free access to these clinics," explained Enright, who specializes in the inclusion of a gender perspective in the field of law. "You have to send the message that women who are accessing a legal and public service can no longer be allowed to be stigmatized or intimidated."
The protests, so far, have not gone beyond being residual. Despite the ingrained Catholicism of the Republic of Ireland, the majority of the population considers that the time has come to expand the range of freedoms in the country and place the right of women to freely interrupt their pregnancy at the level of other European countries. . The conflict is above all ethical and legal. Faced with the right to privacy and privacy of patients, anti-abortion groups claim their freedom of expression to carry out these intimidating practices. "Those who offer abortion services will suffer protests and pickets throughout Ireland, it happens in other democracies and it will happen in our own, in an increasingly intense way, it is a democratic right," he wrote in Twitter Declan Ganley, a well-known businessman very active in anti-abortion groups.
A spokesman for the Minister of Health, Simon Harris, has expressed the Government's commitment to avoid at all costs this type of protests at the doors of the clinics. "The minister is convinced that abortion should be part of a normal way of our public health system, admits that this represents an increased risk of protest and is determined to introduce safe access to clinics as a priority," has said.
The Government is also committed to increasing the number of professionals that can facilitate the free interruption of pregnancy. The law contemplates doctors' conscientious objection, and to date the number of health workers willing to care for women has fallen far short of the expected figures.
The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, has also joined in condemning the protests. "I respect people who are pro-life and oppose abortion, but I do not think that anyone can be prevented from accessing a medical service." There are other ways of protesting, "he said.
The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has expressed his opposition to this type of protests with public signaling and demanded greater containment to the anti-abortion groups. "You can protest under the rule of law and the Constitution, it can not be avoided, but I would be particularly prudent in doing it in front of these clinics." Many people come to them and do so for different reasons, I am not very supportive of public protests. What the Church must do is to help women in crisis in a firm way and to educate people in a broad way on the matter, "he said on the RTÉ Radio 1 network.