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Views And Reviews

People deserve safe access zones around clinical areas providing abortion care

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 21 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m207
  1. Mary Higgins, obstetrician
  1. Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  1. mary.higgins{at}

Protests that stigmatise people exercising their legal right to choose have no place in front of clinical areas

On 1 January 2019, abortion care became more widely available in the Republic of Ireland. Before this, abortion was only available when there was a “significant risk to the life of the mother” from either physical or mental health conditions.

Following a public referendum in 2018, abortion is now available under 12 weeks’ gestation for any reason, and later if there is significant risk to the life or health of the mother or where the fetus has a condition likely to lead to their death during pregnancy or during the first 28 days of life. Under nine weeks’ gestation, care is largely provided by general practice or family planning clinics, unless there is a requirement for hospital care (such as maternal bleeding disorder). Over nine weeks all abortion care takes place in maternity hospitals. Of …

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