Pro-life taxpayers will have to foot the bill for abortions under new proposals approved by the Government this week, despite having a conscientious objection to the killing of unborn children.
Minister for Health Simon Harris secured Cabinet approval on Tuesday. He also announced controversial plans to create so-called ‘safe access zones’ around clinics providing abortion to prevent pro-life counselling agencies trying to help women experiencing crisis pregnancies to choose a different option.
Mr Harris said that his Government colleagues have agreed that “services for the termination of pregnancy will be provided on a universal basis – so that cost is not a barrier for women to access these services”. Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute – which campaigned for a ‘no’ vote in the referendum – accused the minister of using “weasel words to mask the reality of what he is proposing”.
Mr Harris described his plan as creating “areas around premises where abortion services are provided where patients and staff can go without fear of intimidation or harassment, and without being subjected to posters or protests.”
However, on this controversial issue of buffer zones, Ms Uí Bhriain said that “everyone supports women being safe but that’s not the issue here. The real issue is that Minister Harris seems to want to ensure that anything that might assist women in making a life-affirming decision is outlawed.
“His description of anything to do with abortion clinics as ‘safe’ is deeply ironic since these places are always lethally unsafe for preborn babies,” Ms Uí Bhriain told The Irish Catholic.
“The hypocrisy of funding abortion under the Maternity and Infant Scheme is staggering since the only aim of an abortion is to deliberately kill an infant.”
Mr Harris said on Tuesday that he intended to bring the legislation forward before the summer recess this week. However, “that is not now possible due to ongoing court proceedings”.