An Irish student pro-life group has criticised Health Minister Simon Harris for prioritising abortion over the ever-growing health crisis.
The criticism comes in response to Mr Harris’ recent remarks on his plans to impose exclusion zones outside abortion clinics in order to prevent pro-life vigils and pro-lifers offering help to vulnerable women in crisis pregnancies.
“Any time the Health Minister gets into political difficulty, whenever there is talk of no confidence motions or negativity of any kind, he immediately reverts back to the abortion issue and takes to Twitter, as we saw during the week, to self-congratulate himself on successfully repealing all constitutional protection for the unborn child,” said Luke Silke, a 21-year-old NUI Galway student and spokesperson for Students For Life Ireland.
The group accused the Government of not doing enough to show vulnerable women that there are other options than abortion.
“Supports must be put in place to ensure that women in crisis pregnancies do not feel pressurised financially to have an abortion,” Mr Silke said.
“Exclusion zones would prevent us from doing this. Students For Life Ireland do feel that there is a deliberate attempt by the Minister and abortion campaigners to stereotype or pigeonhole us. The use of the term ‘safe access zones’ by campaigners and the Minister is deliberately inflammatory – it implies that pro-life people are a dangerous threat, which is an incredibly unfair way to depict a sizeable chunk of the voting public.
“There is nothing ‘safe’ about abortion, it is the only procedure performed by a doctor which is deemed a failure if the baby survives, and a success if the baby’s life is ended.”
Students For Life Ireland said it has always taken the view that sensitivity is warranted during vigils outside abortion clinics, and that no woman should ever face harassment.
“We share the Garda Commissioner’s view, however, that the existing legislation around harassment is sufficient and we believe that an introduction of ‘exclusion zones’ would be unconstitutional and undemocratic,” Mr Silke said.
He also pointed out that the so-called ‘safe zones’ would also not be safe for the babies whose lives would be ended inside them.
“Last year the government voted against some very humane amendments to the abortion bill, which were tabled by pro-life politicians. An amendment seeking to ensure that the unborn be granted pain relief prior to late term abortion was defeated,” he said. “These zones are not ‘safe zones’ for the human beings, no different to us but in size, whose lives are being ended within the zones.”
Picture: Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris. (Brian Lawless/PA).