What is Together for Safety?
Together for Safety is a National Campaign started by the Limerick Feminist Network raising awareness and campaigning for legislation that would enforce safe access zones around all family planning centres / maternity hospitals / health care facilities in Ireland who provide or give information on abortions / sexual health / contraception.
What are safe access zones?
Safe access zones are fixed areas around health care facilities where protesting or intimidating behaviour would be strictly and legally prohibited.
Why do we need safe access zones?
Currently, even during level five COVID-19 lockdowns, people from different anti-choice organisations and some anti-choice individuals are taking it upon themselves to walk in groups or pairs around the perimeter of Limerick Maternity Hospital and other Maternity Hospitals around the country and watching everyone who enters and leaves while praying loudly.
Vulnerable people accessing health services and medical staff going to work find their presence distressing. Local residents are also objecting to their presence.
There are a few reasons for this…
- Everybody should have the right to walk in and out of medical / health facilities without being watched / monitored or judged by other people.
- This behaviour can be intimidating and triggering for some members of the community.
- Abortion is legal in Ireland – there was a democratic vote and the public decided.
- We are currently in level five COVID-19 lockdown so there is an added public health and safety concern.
- Within lockdown maternity services have restricted access to birthing / support partners for pregnant people so now pregnant people – including those who may get upsetting diagnoses, have to miscarry and give birth alone – have to enter and leave maternity services passing groups of people who have no business being near these buildings.
- People who live near Limerick Maternity Hospital have reported being upset and triggered at seeing people from religious orders walking over and back in front of the hospital praying loudly, with rosary beads on show, this was especially upsetting when it continued after the release of the Mother and Baby Homes Report on January 11th 2021.
Why is this important now?
The Legislative Programme for Spring 2021 includes a ‘Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill’ and work on the Bill is currently underway. We want to make sure that this issue is given the priority it deserves.
I would like to help with this campaign, what can I do?
Depending on who you are in the community there are different things you can do to help. Please go to the how to get involved section.
What will you do with the information you collect from people?
The stories and experiences people share with us around how they have been upset and negatively impacted by protestors will be collected and stored anonymously, and added to a submission we will draft and send to Local Authorities and Government Departments on the implementation of safe access zones.
What else are you doing?
We are contacting all Councillors / Senators / TDs to let them know about the campaign, to invite them to meet with us, support this campaign and to work cross party on implementing safe access zones in Ireland.
I have more questions
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact Together for Safety on firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything else I should know?
In 2021 current abortion legislation will be under review – it is really important that what we fought so hard for with the Repeal movement is not lost during this review. Please keep an eye on Limerick Feminist Network and Abortion Rights Campaign social media pages to find out when this is taking place and how you can help.
Please note: We are asking all members of the public not to engage with or approach any protestors they may come across. Together for Safety does not and will not condone or advocate for the harassment and intimidation of anyone. The purpose of this campaign is to keep all citizens safe and free of judgement, harassment and intimidation as they go about their business.