One year after abortion was legalized in Northern Ireland, the NI Abortion and Contraception Taskgroup is calling for anti-free speech buffer zones around abortion businesses.
The Taskgroup, created as abortion was legalized in Northern Ireland in 2020, is made up of pro-abortion doctors, nurses, midwives, general practitioners, and academics who work in “reproductive health.” This creates a major conflict of interest as the very people who make money from abortion are the ones recommending the restriction of free speech for those opposed to it.
Buffer zones around abortion businesses were originally considered for Northern Ireland in March of 2020 when abortion was legalized, but at that time the government decided not to include them in the abortion law. Now, the pro-abortion Taskgroup is now making a push for them in order to silence pro-lifers. According to the BBC, pro-life protests or demonstrations would not be allowed within the buffer zones if they are established in Northern Ireland.
The Taskgroup believes the zones are necessary to protect abortionists and women, but women who have been helped by pro-life activists outside abortion businesses consistently express their relief and gratefulness that the pro-lifers were present at the abortion facility to help them choose life. Many women are choosing abortion not due to their own free will, but because of pressure from outside forces that cause them to believe abortion is their only choice.
One such woman, Alina Dulgheriu, felt abortion was her only choice after being left “alone” and “abandoned” by her partner. But there was a pro-life group present outside the abortion facility which offered her the material, financial, and emotional support she needed to confidently continue her pregnancy. She took her case against Ealing Council to the European Court of Human Rights after the Council established a buffer zone around the Ealing abortion clinic.
“What kind of society withholds help from vulnerable women?” she argued. “I’m challenging Ealing Council’s PSPO at the ECHR because my experience is typical for many hundreds of others. I didn’t want an abortion but I was abandoned by my partner, my friends and society. My financial situation at the time would have made raising a child very challenging,” she said.
“Thanks to the help I was offered by a group outside of a clinic before my appointment, my daughter is here today,” Dulgheriu added. “Refusing this charity from offering much-needed services and resources for women in my situation is wrong. Let them help.”
In addition to preventing women from hearing all of the options available to them apart from abortion, buffer zones violate the rights of pro-lifers to protest.
“The big issue of the right to protest and right to free assembly is an overriding principle,” said North Antrim MP Ian Paisley. “Of course, such protests need to be within the law and in my view, must be respectful, but to ban protests would seem to infringe basic values in a free and democratic society. Buffer zones are only a way of trying to remove the right to protest.”
After abortion was legalized, health officials in Northern Ireland projected up to 6,500 abortions annually in the nation — a 497% increase.
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