Abortions will be carried out at a designated area at UMHL
PRO-choice activists are on high alert for pro-life protests at Limerick clinics that are providing abortion services, this newspaper has been informed.
This is in response to a controversial picket that took place at a clinic in Galway last week, just days after abortions became legal in Ireland.
University Maternity Hospital Limerick, local family planning clinics and a number of GP clinics have signed up locally to provide services.
Women seeking an abortion can go about the procedure through a GP up until the ninth week of pregnancy. Women who are between nine and 12 weeks pregnant must have the abortion carried out at a maternity hospital.
As clinics in Limerick are likely to be receiving referrals this month, some members of the public and groups are offering to be “escorts to any woman or girl seeking an abortion and buffer them somewhat”, according to one of these activists.
This woman, who did not wish to be named, said she hopes the legislation for exclusion zones will be signed into law.
She said the protests will not “stop one abortion” and that they are being held to “shame and humiliate women who are easy targets”.
“Ironically, the very people who opposed freedom of movement and freedom of information are now shouting about free speech and freedom of conscience,” she added.
A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said that an area for pregnancy terminations has been designated within UMHL’s emergency unit and the antenatal ward.
“There is a long-term plan for a new build adjacent to the main hospital building which would accommodate a new Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit, ambulatory gynaecology services and termination of pregnancy services. These plans are at a preliminary stage and would be subject to the usual approvals around planning, capital funding etc,” he said on Wednesday.