Thursday 13 December 2007

Close The Rogue Agency!

Following several successful pickets at the rogue crisis pregnancy agency, an action will be held on Saturday 15 December at 1pm. The rogue agency is at 50 Upper Dorset Street.

The agency, called "Women's Resource Centre" and also using the name "British Alternatives Pregnancy Services", is advertised as a pregnancy counselling agency. It subjects women in crisis pregnancies to psychological manipulation, misleading and deliberately lying about pregnancy and abortion services to prevent women from travelling for abortion services. The lies they tell clients are designed to force women to feel guilt and shame for even considering abortion as an option.

Full Story:

Rogue Anti-Choice Agency, Dorset St. - A History of Lies and Deception

Monday 15 October 2007

Abortion in Argentina: From Catholic Hegemony to Practical Secularity

Please note: This article was posted last week on It can be found in that website at this location.

Ireland and Argentina share a host of historical similarities. Both nations emerged from colonial ruling through wars of independence, and found themselves subsequently undergoing tremendous social change. The main religious faith in both nations has been the Roman Catholic Church, and thus a conservative tradition has been followed in the two Republics. Moreover, there has been a recent upswing of neo-liberal economic policies, which were welcomed in the two countries after decades of stagnation. With these parallels in mind, it is important we consider the Argentinian case from the Irish perspective.

Among Latin American nations, The Republic of Argentina has not historically been a progressive state. It found itself at its most conservative 30 years ago, when under the grip of a brutal military dictatorship, which had the blessing of the local Catholic hierarchy.

In the aftermath of the dictatorship, millions still adhered to the faith, but just as many questioned whether the institution was divorced from the belief system. Priests who had attempted to protect people were ignored by the hierarchy, who ingratiated themselves with those in power, and collaborated with repressive activities. These situations, added to many notorious cases of sexual abuse within the clergy, fostered a situation that still exists today. According to Reader's Digest Argentina, very few people want to be ordained as priests, and while recent polls show 80% of Argentinians are baptized Catholics, only 18% of those admitted to attending mass regularly. The prevailing view, Reader's Digest quotes, is one of faith without institutionalisation. These events mirror, to a degree, the historical situation of Ireland and the Catholic Church, with mass attendance and ordination of priests equally in sharp decline.

It is unsurprising, then, that popular legislative proposals would occur at a time when the Church's power is in question. Argentina and Ireland both saw, firstly, a legalisation of divorce, the former ratified in 1987, the latter voted for in 1995 and enacted in 1997. Ever since then, the focus has shifted to other civil rights issues, including a woman’s right to choose.

During the 1990s, Argentina was ruled by a neoliberal strand of the Partido Justicialista, also known as the Peronist Party, presided by Carlos Saúl Menem. That government enacted economic policies very similar to those of present-day Ireland. Similarly to Ireland, the government aimed not to rock the boat too much with risky legislative moves. Hence, they provided assurances to the Holy See that abortion would not be legalised, going as far as declaring March 25th "Day of the Unborn Child". Subsequent governments didn't act on the issue. Although illegal, abortions were performed by physicians, under very restrictive circumstances, often requiring the patient to obtain a court order that would authorise the procedure. This was due to the unclear nature of the legislation in case of rape, or risk to the mother's life.

The election of Nestor Kirchner to the presidency in 2003 began a sweeping tide of reform, despite Kirchner's affiliation to the Peronist Party. In 2005, his appointed Health Minister, Ginés González García, declared his support for full legalisation of abortion, coupled with his endorsement of a programme of free sex education and contraception distribution. Moreover, 2005 also saw the appointment of the first female judge to the Supreme Court of Justice, Carmen Argibay, who has also stated her support for the legalisation of terminations within the Republic. In a recent response to attacks from the Catholic Church, who claimed there was "an uncontrolled rush for abortion", Minister González García stated:

"Intolerance has many ways of showing itself, and this is one of the worst kinds. It is against the law, as well as an attempt to force a person to be a mother, simply because some people consider their religious ideas must be shared by everyone." (Página/12 [1])

The current situation is one where the government is taking slow, careful steps, yet doing so with seeming certainty of purpose. Abortion remains illegal, but it is considered "non-punishable" in cases of rape, mental illness, or where the pregnant woman's life is in danger. The key difference with the Irish situation is that, while abortion is indeed legal for such cases unlike Argentina, the main regulator body for medical licenses regards abortion as malpractice. While President Kirchner has not condoned either side, many of his apointees are supporting a progressive pro-choice agenda. The government of the Province of Buenos Aires, the most populous area of the nation, has announced a plan to issue guidelines regarding terminations to doctors, clarifying requirements as well as proper procedures. The Ministry of Health, similarly, announced a programme of revision of the Penal Code, which will make the legal situation clear, and furthermore work towards the legalisation. (Pagina/12 [2])

These are first steps, and by no means final. The Catholic Hierarchy along with many other so-called pro-life organisations have mounted a legal defense against the legalisation of abortion, based on ideas of the right to life. Their main argument is that the Constitution defends the life of all Argentinians, including the unborn, and the Constitution supercedes the Penal Code. However, popular support for their side seems to be waning, as more and more personal stories reach the mass media, and suspicion is rampant regarding the institution of the Catholic Church. During a recent demonstration celebrating the "Day for the Decriminalization of Abortion", Vanina Biasi, of the Polo Obrero worker's rights group, stated:

"For the last 80 years, abortion has been allower partially in Argentina, and for the last five they have been persecuting women who seek non-punishable abortions, protected by law. Because of this, we demand the enforcement of the Penal Code, and the legalisation of this medical practice." (Pagina/12 [3])

It is important, then, to remember that the struggle to recognise a woman’s right to choose is still ongoing in Argentina, despite positive developments. A woman seeking an abortion will usually be turned away by the public health system, unless their life is in danger, and few can afford the specialist treatment offered by the nation’s myriad private clinics. Many then seek backstreet abortions, which are incredibly unsafe, and as recently as last Sunday a woman was reportedly dead after subjecting herself to such a procedure in the northern Argentinian city of Salta (Indymedia [1]). Approximately two women died every day due to backstreet abortions, according to a 2004 news report from Women on Waves.

As it is now, however, the Argentinian situation seems to at least feature the political will to address the issue of abortion, unlike the current administration in the Republic of Ireland. It is of the uttermost importance that such a pivotal issue of civil rights begins to take part in the national political debate, and that steps are taken to legislate for abortion in the Republic of Ireland.



[1] "The Archdiocese's New Crusade", published on the 25th of September, 2007 at
[2] "To Quell All Doubt", published on the 10th of September, 2007 located at
[3] "Demonstration Demands the Decriminalization of Abortion", published on the 29th of September, 2007 located at

-Reader's Digest Argentina
[1] "What do we Believe in? Seven out of ten respondents consider themselves religious, but only 21% of them practice it." obtained from

-Indymedia Argentina:
[1]" Woman in Salta Dies after Subjecting Herself to a Clandestine Abortion", published on October 09th, 2007 at

-Women on Waves
"Stir in Argentina", December 2004, located at

Further Information:
Catholics for the Right to Choose:

Abortion in Argentina:
Human Rights Watch - Abortion in Argentina:
Expanding Access to Abortion - Strategies for Action:

Related Link:

Saturday 29 September 2007

Choice Ireland welcomes abortion poll results

Choice Ireland has welcomed a poll published in today’s Irish Times showing that a majority of women want legislation for abortion in Ireland.

Speaking before a meeting of Choice Ireland members and supporters in Dublin on Saturday, spokesperson Sinéad Ahern said:

“Choice Ireland has consistently maintained that abortion laws in this country are out of step with the feeling of the Irish people. Today’s poll is further evidence of that. It shows that 54% of Irish women believe the government should legislate for abortion, including majorities in almost every age group.

“This figure rises to 69% in cases where there is a threat to the woman’s life, including by suicide. The government’s ongoing refusal to act on these cases defies logic.”

Spokesperson Niav Keating added:

“Another telling statistic is that 42% of respondents say they personally know a woman who has had an abortion. Considering the secrecy and stigma that surrounds this decision, the likelihood is that well over half of us actually know someone who has done so. This demonstrates that the current law is ineffective in preventing abortions. It merely forces women to obtain them under the most difficult conditions.

“Women have spoken in this poll and it is clear that the days of ceding control of our bodies are over. Demand is growing for the right to make our own reproductive choices. The government and opposition parties must start listening and taking account of women’s views on this issue.”

Friday 7 September 2007

Choice Ireland calls for regulation of crisis pregnancy counselling agencies.

Responding to the re-launch of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency's Positive Options advertising campaign, Choice Ireland has renewed its call for legislation to outlaw rogue crisis pregnancy counselling agencies.

Spokesperson Niav Keating said:

"Choice Ireland acknowledges the valuable work of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency and supports the Positive Options campaign as an element in combating the deceitful and intimidating tactics of rogue agencies by promoting legitimate service providers. However, this campaign has
been running for five years and it is clearly not sufficient on its own to counteract the deceptive advertising tactics of these rogue agencies, which continue to operate with no fear of closure. Choice Ireland has highlighted one such agency in Dublin."

Commenting, spokesperson Sinead Ahern said:

"It is time for Minister Mary Harney to recognise that legislative action is needed. Choice Ireland is calling for regulation of all clinics providing crisis pregnancy counselling, with rogue agencies to be shut down and their operators subject to prosecution. The government should also extend the prohibition on false and misleading advertisement to services that do not require payment or profit, such as pregnancy counselling services. We have written to Minister Harney asking her to meet with us to discuss this matter further."

Tuesday 21 August 2007

WRC Protest

Choice Ireland held a protest outside the "Women's Resource Centre" - rogue crisis pregnancy counselling agency - 50 Upper Dorset St., Dublin 1, last Saturday 18th August.

Link with more pictures from the protest:

Press Release: Saturday 18th August 2007

Choice Ireland calls for regulation of crisis pregnancy counselling agencies.

As part of their ongoing campaign to highlight the issue of rogue crisis pregnancy counselling agencies, Choice Ireland has made a submission to the Law Reform Commission and will protest outside the Women's Resource Centre on Saturday, 18 th August 2007. Rogue crisis pregnancy counselling agencies advertise themselves as providers of legitimate pregnancy counselling services but they are known to use manipulative tactics, provide misleading information and intimidate women. The sole purpose of these agencies is to stop women from travelling outside the State to terminate a pregnancy.

Commenting Niav Keating said:

"Rogue crisis pregnancy agencies deliberately mislead women about the health risks associated with abortion. When Choice Ireland activists attended this agency, they were told that having an abortion would increase their risk of developing breast cancer, becoming an alcoholic and abusing children. These are blatant lies designed to scare vulnerable women in a crisis pregnancy situation".

Commenting Sinead Ahearn said:

"At present, counselling services in Ireland are not regulated which means that any individual or group can establish a counselling service and this is an outrageous situation. We are calling on the government to bring forward statutory regulation for all pregnancy counselling services, prescribing minimum codes of practices and standards, to ensure that they do not impart misleading and incorrect information".

Quotes end.

Saturday 30 June 2007

Pro-choice campaigners gather for Dublin rally

Irish Independent - Breaking News
Saturday June 30 2007

Pro-choice campaigners staged a rally in Dublin's city centre today calling for a range of reproductive rights for women, including abortion.

Over 120 thousand Irish women have travelled to the UK to terminate their pregancies since 1990.

A recent M-R-B-I poll found that more than half of people aged between 18 and 25 are favour of abortion on request.

"The rally today is about calling for all sorts of reproductive rights - mainly for the right of women to access abortion services in Ireland," said Sinead Ahern of Choice Ireland.

Thursday 28 June 2007

Photos from Dáil protest

Pro-choice groups call for new legislation on abortion

The Irish Times
Thursday 28th June 2007
Carl O'Brien

Pro-choice groups have called on the Government to legislate for abortion in Ireland in response to the large number of women who travel abroad to terminate their pregnancies.

Last year 5,042 women gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in Britain, according to the UK's department of health.

In order to highlight those numbers, Choice Ireland yesterday displayed 20 suitcases and rucksacks outside Leinster House to signify the 20 women who leave Ireland each day for an abortion.

Sinead Ahearn, a spokeswoman for Choice Ireland, said the real numbers of women travelling abroad were much greater as official figures do not include those travelling to other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and the US to terminate their pregnancies.

She pointed to a recent TNS/ mrbi poll, commissioned by the Irish Family Planning Agency, which indicated significant support for abortion in Ireland in certain circumstances. It found 43 per cent of people supported abortion if it was in a woman's "best interests", but the majority (51 per cent) remained opposed to it in this country.

Choice Ireland will hold a rally on Saturday at the Central Bank Plaza at 2pm as part of its ongoing campaign for abortion rights.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Fight For Women's Right to Choose!

Choice Ireland will hold a Pro Choice Rally at 2pm on Saturday 30th June at Central Bank Plaza, Dame St, Dublin 2. The theme of the rally is "Fight for Women's Right to Choose".

Confirmed Speakers include Sen. David Norris and Ivana Bacik.

Please pass on these details to anyone you think might come along.

Hope to see you there!

What do we want?
  • Free Access to Accurate Information on All Crisis Pregnancy Options
  • Legislation Regulating Information Provided by Crisis-Pregnancy Centres
  • Immediate Legislation for the X and C Cases
  • Proper Sex-Education
  • Free Access to Multiple Forms of Contraception Including the Morning-After Pill
  • Free and Legal Abortion on Demand
  • High-Quality Post-Abortion Care
  • End to Stigma Surrounding Abortion
  • Practical Support for Women Seeking Abortion
  • End to Stigma Surrounding Sexual Health and Contraceptive Needs
  • Increased Support for Single and Low-Income Parents
  • Increased Protection for Working Mothers
  • Free Access to Quality Childcare
  • End to Stigma Surrounding Single Parenthood
  • Choice in the Method of Childbirth
  • Creation of More Feminist Health Centres

Monday 21 May 2007

Babies, Storks and the Academic Dishonesty of the Anti-Choice Lobby

A recent advertisement circulated in Irish print media by the anti-choice group, “Pro Life Campaign”, is a striking example of the manipulative and unethical tactics the anti-choice lobby are willing to embrace. The ad, spotted originally by Choice Ireland in the Dundalk Democrat, encourages citizens not to give their vote to parties that have given a commitment to introduce abortion legislation. It founds this request on the claim that, “Support for abortion ignores the dignity and humanity of the unborn child and the most recent findings showing the negative effects of abortion on women (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, January 2006).”

The above citation to the reputable Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry is an obvious attempt to create an impression of academic and scientific support for the oft-cited (but scientifically insupportable) anti-choice assertion that abortion “has negative effects on women”. In fact a basic examination of the article cited merely demonstrates the extent to which the anti-choice agenda are willing to misrepresent facts and embrace academic dishonesty in an effort to garner support for their agenda.

The first point to be made here is that the journal article is mis-referenced and misrepresented at the most basic level. The article in question makes no reference to the notion that “abortion ignores the dignity and humanity of the unborn child”. Neither does the article find “negative effects of abortion on women”.

What the journal article does say is, “The findings suggest that abortion in young women may be associated with increased risks of mental health problems" (Fergusson et al, 2006, 16). The important word here is "associated". This is not the same as "showing the negative effects of abortion on women". What it specifically means is that the authors found a statistically significant relationship (at the Alpha level of below .05) between having an abortion and the presence of the specific mental health indicators they looked for. That by no means indicates or provides evidence for cause. Only correlation. This is a subtle but vital difference.

In order to elucidate the vital distinction between correlation and causation, statisticians often cite the following example. If you examine the records of the city of Copenhagen for the decade following World War II, you will find a strong positive correlation between the annual number of storks nesting in the city, and the annual number of human babies born in the city. Jump too quickly to the assumption of a causal relationship, and you will find yourself saddled with the conclusion either that storks bring babies or that babies bring storks.

In fact what you have here is a situation where the two variables (or things) being examined are correlated (or associated), not because one is causing the other, but rather because both are influenced by a third variable, that is not being taken into account. During the decade following World War II, the populations of most western European cities steadily grew as a result of migrations from surrounding rural areas. Additionally this was the post-war baby boom era. Copenhagen is also home to annually fluctuating numbers of storks. As population increased, there were more people to have babies, and therefore more babies were born. Also as population increased, there was more building construction to accommodate it, which in turn provided more nesting places for storks; hence increasing numbers of storks.

The findings of this research cannot be used to assert causation, only correlation. Abortion does not cause mental problems, it is "associated" or "correlated" with it. The study itself goes into the limitation of this in the discussion section. What it means methodologically is that, while confounding factors were taken into account (third factors that might influence the results), there is the possibility that other confounding factors which were not controlled for have not been taken into account and the association is a result of a third factor. Pointedly, the research did not control for existing psychiatric illness. It is quite possible that this, or any other factor not controlled for is creating a “confounding” association similar to the one between babies and storks.

The research itself also suffers from a variety of methodological problems which impose very serious limitations on the already weak finding that, “abortion in young women may be associated with increased risks of mental health problems”. Indeed the word “may” in this sentence already indicates the extent to which this is an unfounded hypothetical possibility, rather than a definitive evidence based reality.

Perhaps the most striking limitation to this research is the fact that it was conduced in New Zealand. In New Zealand, the provision of abortion is determined by the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, 1977.The Act requires that certain criteria are met before allowing a woman to undergo an abortion. In order to have an abortion in New Zealand, two certifying consultants must agree: 1) that the pregnancy would seriously harm the life, physical or mental health of the woman or baby; or 2) that the pregnancy is the result of incest; or 3) that the woman is severely mentally handicapped. An abortion will also be considered on the basis of age, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape. Given the implications of these criteria in terms of the mental health of women who are allowed to have an abortion in New Zealand, it is hardly surprising that the study should find some association between women with negative mental health indicators and abortion. Given the circumstances in which the pregnancy must take place, the presence of negative mental health indicators is almost required to have an abortion in New Zealand.

This is by no means the only methodological problem. Importantly, the sample of people that was used for the research may have been biased since it does not match the real population in New Zealand. Specifically the people that were sampled had a lower reported rate of abortion compared to the real population. We would always expect some difference in terms of populations, however as the study itself points out, this difference was statistically significant, (Fergusson et al, 2006, 17). This poses serious problems in terms of the validity of the research since certain types of people may be more likely to admit to having had an abortion. If this is so, the sample will be biased and the results may be invalid.

Another profoundly serious problem, which the article itself points out, is that the research took no account of the role of contextual factors. As the article itself makes patent, " It is clear that the decision to seek (or not seek) an abortion following pregnancy is likely to involve a complex process relating to: a) the extent to which the pregnancy is seen as wanted; b) the extent of family and partner support for seeking or not seeking an abortion; c) the woman's experiences in seeking and obtaining an abortion. It is possible, therefore, that the apparent associations between abortion and mental health found in this study may not reflect the traumatic effects of abortion per se but rather other factors which are associated with the process of seeking and obtaining an abortion. For example, it could be proposed that our results reflect the effects of unwanted pregnancy on mental health rather than the effects of abortion per se on mental health.” (Emphasis added, Fergusson et al, 2006, 22)

Owing to these limitations the real conclusions of the report are as follows:

"On the basis of the current study, it is our view that the issue of whether or not abortion has harmful effects on mental health remains to be fully resolved." (Fergusson et al, 2006, 23)

"Notwithstanding the reservations and limitations above, the present research raises the possibility that for some young women, exposure to abortion is a traumatic life event which increases longer-term susceptibility to common mental disorders.” (Emphasis added. Fergusson et al, 2006, 23)

"These findings are inconsistent with the current consensus on the psychological effects of abortion.”

The findings of this research are indeed out of step with the current consensus on the psychological effects of abortion. This is most likely due to the profound methodological limitations of the research as discussed above. In fact there has been much research on this issue and the consensus is that there is no link between abortion and psychological harm to women. The highly reputable and prestigious American Psychological Association outlined this in their 2005 statement on abortion. It concluded that “well designed studies of psychological responses following abortion have consistently shown that risk of psychological harm is low … the percentage of women who experience clinically relevant distress is small and appears to be no greater than in general samples of women of reproductive age” (American Psychological Association, 2005)."

This is not to deny that abortion is a difficult event for many women. Abortion is a hard choice for all women and one, which no woman chooses lightly. But for some women it is their choice. And with quality counselling to explore their decision prior to making it, it is a choice they rarely regret (IFPA, 2000).

What can be particularly traumatic for women in Ireland facing crisis pregnancy, is the fact that they are forced overseas to avail of an abortion. As women in crisis pregnancy in Ireland are exported abroad the reality of their situation and the decisions they must face are blatantly denied and their choice stigmatised in a way that can only compound the anxiety of a crisis pregnancy. Moreover women who choose an abortion are faced with the enormous financial burden incurred from travelling abroad. A statement by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist is particularly salient in this regard. “Only a small minority of women experience any long term psychological squeal after abortion. Early distress, although common, is usually a continuation of symptoms present before the abortion. Conversely, long lasting, negative effects on both mothers and their children are reported where abortion has been denied.” (Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2000).

If those who maintain the anti-choice agenda are truly concerned about the psychological welfare of women they might examine the academic consensus on the issue instead of misrepresenting it. Each year between 6000 and 7000 women from Ireland travel to Britain for an abortion. Abortion is a choice women will continue to make. It is also a right that they must be allowed to exercise over their own bodies. It is the absence of abortion rights in Ireland, which is damaging to the psychological well being of women.

The anti-choice lobby claims to be interested in the psychological well being of women and in reducing the numbers of abortions. This interest will not be served by misrepresenting academic research or by manipulating women. Neither will it be aided by denying women their right to an abortion in Ireland and compounding the crisis of their pregnancy. It will be served through legislation legalising free abortion; the introduction of adequate sex education programs; an end to the stigma surrounding sex and abortion; free and accessible contraception and the introduction of real supports for women who choose to go through with their pregnancies. If the anti-choice lobby are truly interested in the psychological well-being of women and reducing the numbers of abortions, the reality is that they would be better served turning their energies towards these issues.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Ah, the joys of knowing that you're always right

Ah, the joys of knowing that you're always right

by Ian O'Doherty,

One of the interesting scabs reopened by the Ms D debate has been the bafflement felt by many people at the utter refusal of some religious people to even consider the possibility that it might actually be a kindness - rather than a mere convenience - to terminate the pregnancy of a foetus which will be ultimately born without a brain.

An interesting example of this mentality arrived in the ISpy inbox yesterday, and sat there smugly until it was eventually opened. And these are its words of wisdom: "Isn't more natural to let nature take its course? Who knows, the child might not be as badly affected as the medics predict."But even if the child is going to die, then after the natural term, he or she will die naturally without the recourse of some 'surgeon' tearing it to pieces limb from limb... how sick is that. Women have the right to be protected from abortion, as have their children."Since when does killing innocent and defenceless children become merely an option, a choice? God have mercy on us all."

And these are interesting points, so let's deal with them. Should we just let nature take its course?Applying that logic, the last Pope would have been dead 10 years sooner had his medical team not done so much to stop nature taking its course.

And as for "protecting women from abortion", the last time any of us heard a man talking about protecting women from making their own decisions came from the Taliban. Not that there's much difference between that lot and some of the more excitable fundamentalists in this country.

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Choice Ireland calls for no more “X” “C” or “D” Cases

Choice Ireland commends today's verdict in favour of “Miss D”s right to travel for an abortion. Nevertheless we are appalled by the treatment “Miss D” has received at the hands of our state. It is unacceptable that yet another woman has been dragged through the courts in order to vindicate her rights and her choice. It is also unacceptable that “Miss D” will now be forced overseas in order to exercise her choice to have an abortion.

Today is not a joyful day for Miss D. While she has finally gained the right to exercise her choice, she had to go through a lot to get to this point. She now has to face into the reality of an abortion. She must do this overseas away from the support of family and friends. She must then return to this country which, because it ignores the problem, has no proper free post-abortion care or counselling available. This is the situation for thousands of Irish women.

The abortion issue must be resolved. Without legislation to clarify the ambiguous legal position with regard to abortion, women like “Miss D” (as Miss “X” and Miss “C” before her) will continue to be dragged through the courts. Meanwhile due to the State's failure to face the reality of tragic crisis pregnancy, 17 Irish women a day have the anguish of their situation compounded by the financial and emotional burden of being forced overseas for an abortion. The current position represents a "head in the sand" approach to a reality faced by thousands of women in Ireland each year and is incompatible with any notion of respect for women.

Choice Ireland are today calling for no more "X", "C" or "D" cases, for the repeal of the 8th amendment and for free, safe and legal abortion to be made available in Ireland.

Tuesday 8 May 2007

D Case Verdict Expected Tomorrow - Choice Ireland Member Opinion Piece

The high court is due to decide Miss D's fate tomorrow (Wednesday 9th of May) at 2pm. Pro-choice rally in support of Miss D outside the Four Courts from 1.30pm.

There was a counter-demonstration of anti-choice extremists present at Monday's rally, see

Miss D has said she is glad of everyone's support. She bravely walked past the callously-displayed anti-abortion placards saying, "I don't care what they think".

Their presence on Monday just shows who the "pro-lifers" really are: anti-woman extremists, who think that even a foetus that will not live has an equal right to life as a young woman. It shows that even in the most straight-forward cases of the need for abortion, one can never argue logic with these people. No sane person could countenance forcing Miss D to go through with the trauma of pregnancy and birth when she clearly wants her agony to end.

The people of Ireland are far-and-away supportive of Miss D. Though some of them don't know it, the people of Ireland are far-and-away Pro-Choice. They know, as Choice Ireland knows, that abortion is a terrible thing to have to go through. It is a terrible choice to have to make. But sometimes it is the only choice. And, given proper access to impartial information and counselling, only the woman involved can decide when she needs to have an abortion. No-one, neither church nor state, has the right to interfere.

Long after they should have disappeared into the woodwork, the anti-choice element continues to make its presence felt in Ireland. They are seen with their gruesome placards on our streets, they are disproportionately active in the letters columns of our newspapers. They are present here and there throughout society in the guise of the social worker who would report Miss D to the gardai, the homeless-worker who would kick women out of hostels for having condoms, the teacher who would show young people pro-foetus bloodied propaganda and the pregnancy “counsellor” who would lie to young women about the process and after-effects of abortion. But though these people have a big voice, they have a small following. They are religious, anti-sex, anti-contraceptive, anti-choice fundamentalists. Let us hope their voice begins to be heard in Ireland for what it really is, and ignored.

Miss D has made her choice. Let her be. Let her go.

We in Choice Ireland are saddened that this case had to come to pass. Let there be no more cases like this. Let us stop exporting the problems of our young women. Let us stop traumatising and stigmatising them. We have already enshrined the "right to travel" for abortions in our constitution. Now let us break free from the pervasive influence of religious fanatics, let us end the hypocrisy and see that Irish women have the "right not to travel" for abortions.

Free, safe, legal abortions in Ireland now.

Saturday 5 May 2007

Rally in Support of Miss D

There were about 150 people in attendance at the rally at the GPO today to support Miss D.

Audio and pictures:

Her case continues at a special sitting of the high court on Monday (7th May).

Come along to the Four Courts from 10.30am to show your support.

Alliance for Choice Calls for Immediate Resolution of "D" Case

At a rally in Dublin today, pro-choice groups called for the immediate resolution of the "D" case. This young woman has been subjected to the stress and anxiety of court appearances and legal arguments at a time when she should have been supported by the HSE and state, not further traumatized. It is truly outrageous that this vulnerable young woman should have been forced to ask the courts for the right to terminate a pregnancy that can, at best, result in the birth of a child with no possibility of life.

The HSE must retract their callous approach to D's tragic case and facilitate her choice for a termination. She cannot afford any further delay and the Irish people will not thank the HSE or the government for again brutalising a young woman in their name.

Following on from the X and C cases in the 1990s, legislation dealing with the issue of abortion was promised, but even after the people rejected the Government's 2002 attempt to roll back the X judgement even that minimal protection has not been underpinned by law. WHile the near total ban on abortion in Ireland does not prevent most women from seeking abortions, it does result in increased delay, expense, unnecessary hardship and stigma for those women who face particular barriers to accessing services abroad, such as women living in poverty, young women, migrant and asylum-seeking women, and all those in the direct care or control of the State.

Doctors for Choice Advocate Safe and Legal Abortion

PRESS RELEASE from Doctors for Choice

In the current case Miss D should be offered a termination of pregnancy in a publicly funded Irish obstetric unit.

'This would ensure that she receives local medical and social care, with the necessary follow-up of post mortem, genetic counselling and psychological support as is appropriate' siad Dr Mary Favier of Doctors for Choice.

'It is clear that there has been support from Irish obstetricians for this course of action. In 2002, two of the Masters of the Dublin maternity hospitals acknowledged that they would prefer to see termination of pregnancy offered in Ireland, to women who are affected by fatal foetal anomaly' she added.

Ireland has the second hightest rate of neural tube defects in the world. Anencephaly is an abnormal development of the brain and skull which occurs during the first weeks of pregnancy. The upper part of the brain and its protective skull are missing and the lower part of the brain and the base of the skull are not properly formed.

Doctors for Choice have said that it is time to end the political hypocrisy surrounding the matter of abortion and women's health care in this country. We call on leaders of all political parties to respond to our statement that Miss D be offered a termination of pregnancy.

Psychologists for Choice Urge Compassionate Response for Miss D

PRESS RELEASE from Psychologists for Choice

Psychologists for Choice have said that Miss D should be given a compassionate response to her present traumatic condition, and that Miss D should have the right to have a ternmination of her pregnancy in Ireland should she so wish.

'We are extremely concerned for this young vulnerable and extremely brave woman. It should be abundantly clear that this woman should be afforded the respect to let her make her own decision to obtain an abortion, and that this should be available to her abroad or in Ireland should she so wish, and publicly funded by the HSE' said Dr Geraldine Moane, spokesperson of Psychologists for Choice.

Last year, at the European Court of Human Rights, in the case of D v Ireland, Government lawyers accepted that Irish law might actually permit abortion of foetuses that suffer from letahl abnormalities.

D was an Irishwoman forced to travel to Britain for an abortion of twins, one of whom was dead and the other was suffering from a genetic condition, which meant that it could not live more than a few days after birth.

In 2002, Deirdre De Barra, in a similar case, challenged the Government and the Catholic Church. In her letter to the Irish Times on February 24th 2002, she wrote-'I want to hear the response of the Taoiseach(Prime Minister), the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), the Attorney General, Cadinal Connell, to this specific aspect of the issue of the unborn. On behalf of other women and families who have suffered, I want to know this issue will be prioritised, addressed and resolved between the legislature and the medical profession.'

There was no response.

'The extent of political hypocrisy around the issue of abortion has been a scandal for 15 years since the X Case in 1992' added Dr Geraldine Moane.

Dr Geraldine Moane is spokesperson of Psychologists for Choice, an organisation campaigning for safe and legal abortion in Ireland.

Friday 4 May 2007

Founding Documents

These are the founding documents of Choice Ireland. Full text can also be found at
If you wish to contact us or become involved or go on our mailing list contact us:


Guiding Principles

We Are a Feminist Organisation
We See Reproductive Freedom as a Critical Element of Women’s Liberation
We Recognise that Reproductive Freedom is Multi-Faceted and we Seek to Ensure a Woman’s Freedom to Pursue ALL Reproductive Choices
We Will Promote Education to Empower Women to Take Charge of their Fertility
The Right to Bodily Integrity
No Affiliation to Parties Seeking Political Power
Resistance to Hard-Line Anti-Choice Fanatics
Solidarity with Like-Minded Pro-Choice Groups and Feminist Organisations
International Solidarity

What Do We Want?

Free Access to Accurate Information on All Crisis Pregnancy Options
Legislation Regulating Information Provided by Crisis-Pregnancy Centres
Immediate Legislation for the X and C Cases
Proper Sex-Education
Free Access to Multiple Forms of Contraception Including the Morning-After Pill
Free and Legal Abortion on Demand
High-Quality Post-Abortion Care
End to Stigma Surrounding Abortion
Practical Support for Women Seeking Abortion
End to Stigma Surrounding Sexual Health and Contraceptive Needs
Increased Support for Single and Low-Income Parents
Increased Protection for Working Mothers
Free Access to Quality Childcare
End to Stigma Surrounding Single Parenthood
Choice in the Method of Childbirth
Creation of More Feminist Health Centres


Guiding Principles

We are a Feminist Organisation

We proudly declare ourselves to be a feminist organisation. We reject the negative connotations that have been attached to feminism in recent years (mainly by its enemies). We call for all women who share our aims and principles to reassert ownership of the word.

We See Reproductive Freedom as a Critical Element of Women’s Liberation

Closing in on forty years past what could be called the ‘hey-day’ of the ‘women’s liberation’ movement, women’s lives are still defined and constrained by limitations on their reproductive choices which are both enforced by the coercive power of the state and imposed by predominant social paradigms concerning a woman’s ‘appropriate’ role. We find these limitations to be unacceptable. Although we realize that eliminating the current restrictions surrounding reproductive choice is not a panacea – women’s liberation is bound up in much more than reproductive capacity – we see this issue as being of fundamental significance in that larger struggle.

We Recognise that Reproductive Freedom is Multi-Faceted and we Seek to Ensure a Woman’s Freedom to Pursue ALL Reproductive Choices

We believe that it is the fundamental right of every woman to decide for herself whether and when to bear children. Any interference with this decision is unacceptable.

We aim to ensure that all women have the power to make conscious and well-informed choices regarding all aspects of their sexual and reproductive lives and to make such choices without fear of shame, alienation, or economic distress.

We are committed to supporting women in whatever reproductive choice they make.

We will Promote Education to Empower Women to take Charge of their Fertility

It is inherent to the concept of freedom of choice that not only is the full range of choices available to women, but women are fully informed about those choices. We believe that knowledge is power. As such, we will promote education of women about their health, contraceptive and reproductive options.

We support a woman’s choice to say ‘no’. The right to reproductive choice begins with the right to give or deny consent to sexual activity. Women must be empowered to make this decision freely and without undue pressure. Church-supported ‘abstinence campaigns’ are inadequate for this purpose because they do not locate the issue in its proper context – a woman’s right to control her own body.

Men must also be educated to understand the reasons why a woman may withhold consent and above all to respect that decision – at whatever stage, in whatever kind of relationship it occurs.

The Right to Bodily Integrity

The new ‘foetal rights’ movement limits the freedom of not only pregnant women but increasingly even of potentially-pregnant women of childbearing age. There are alarming reports from other countries of women being prosecuted for failing to meet particular behavioural standards during pregnancy. Women who have already given birth are also at risk from the threat to bodily integrity: in Ireland last year a woman’s right to refuse medical treatment was denied on the basis of her status as a mother.

This is a particular concern in view of the imminent Constitutional referendum to prioritise the ‘best interests of the child’. It is imperative that such an amendment does not provide a vehicle by which women’s bodies can be further subjugated to a reactionary agenda.

No Affiliation to Parties Seeking Political Power

Choice Ireland is non-party political and will remain that way. We will not risk being co-opted or having our principles compromised for the sake of political power or electoral gain. We also want to gain the widest possible support from the pro-choice left and this can only be achieved through complete independence.

Individual members may retain their own personal party affiliation. However, we are determined to ensure that no one political organisation takes de facto control of the group.

Resistance to Hard-Line Anti-Choice Fanatics

The anti-choice movement as pushed and funded in Irish society is primarily a religious one. It goes hand-in-hand with an anti-contraceptive, anti-sex education homophobic position. Many people holding this inflexible viewpoint have positions of power and influence over the young and the vulnerable through charitable, educational and governmental institutions eg. homeless shelters, schools, hospitals and social services. They can use their positions (and resources) to promote an anti-contraception, anti-choice agenda, while pro-choice workers are silent or silenced.

We call for people to recognise this destructive hard-line influence of the catholic church and to see that they have the right to resist it. We will support self-organisation of workers around the issue of choice eg. Doctors and Social Workers for Choice.

Solidarity with Like-minded Pro-choice Groups and Feminist Organisations

We are not seeking to reinvent the wheel. Our aim is to complement and add to the work already being done by organisations with similar or compatible goals. We will work with them, ask for their support and offer ours in return. This includes supporting organisations seeking the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to the North of Ireland.

International Solidarity

Our primary focus at this time is on women in Ireland. Nevertheless we remain interested in the larger structures of power facilitating the continuing oppression of women globally. In particular we express solidarity with women of the Global South who pay a unique price for the detrimental effects of capitalist and neo-liberal economic policies implemented to position certain places in the world beneath others. We seek to better inform ourselves about intersections of oppression, to increase our understanding of the way ‘gender’ functions in our societies, and to realise the possibility for a non-exploitative global community founded on mutual respect.

What do we Want?

Free Access to Accurate Information on all Crisis Pregnancy Options

Women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation have an absolute right to know exactly what options are available to them, and to hear the full facts about each option, presented in an unbiased and non-judgmental way. This right must not depend upon a woman’s age, income, area of residence, ability to travel, marital status, immigration status, sexual orientation or any other qualification.

Legislation Regulating Information Provided by Crisis Pregnancy Centres

At present, regulations exist for those crisis pregnancy centres that are funded by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. However, anybody who wishes to set themselves up as an independent ‘crisis pregnancy centre’ is free to do so without regulation. The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has explicitly ruled out any change to this position.

As a consequence, fanatical anti-abortionists have been able to set up ‘rogue agencies’ such as the one operating at 50 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1, which advertise themselves under misleading names such as ‘A Choice For Women’ and ‘British Alternatives’ in order to attract women seeking abortions. These women are then subjected to false and psychologically traumatising misinformation about the abortion procedure.

Legislation is clearly needed to ensure that all crisis pregnancy centres operate within an agreed acceptable framework, with rogue agencies to be shut down and their operators subject to prosecution.

Immediate Legislation for the X and C Cases

It is now 15 years since the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is legal in the case of a threat to a woman’s life (including by suicide) and ten years since the subsequent C case. The Government has refused to put these decisions on a firm statutory footing. It should do so without delay. Legislation also needs to be put in place to prevent the occurrence of another case like Miss D’s.

Proper Sex-Education

Young people have the right to be properly informed about the workings of their own bodies. Growing up in a sex-obsessed society, with the pressures of the media, they must have independent open forums to discuss and learn about sexuality, sexual health, contraception and also boundaries and consent. Sex education should not just discuss heterosexual relations. Sex education must be brought beyond the mechanical and into the emotional. It is in their first forays into sexual experience that young people may become the victims of the sexual power imbalances inherent in our society. Young people must be empowered to make their own choices regarding their health and reproductive freedom. It is not enough to know how a condom works, you also need to know how to control sexual situations enough to be able to insist on using one.

Free Access to All Forms of Contraception Including the Morning-After Pill

True reproductive choice depends upon a woman’s ability to easily access whatever method of contraception (if any) she prefers. This is not only her right but is also an essential factor in minimising the numbers of women seeking abortion. We are calling for all contraceptives and related services, including STI screening and smear tests, to be available free at the point of delivery. Because of the critical timeframe involved we believe that pharmacists must be allowed to dispense emergency contraception, which should also be free on demand. We support the regular distribution of condoms in schools, colleges and health centres.

To lessen the burden on providers, we also call for the government to reduce VAT on all contraceptives to the legal minimum. As a broader aim we would seek a change in European law to add reproductive goods and services to the ‘VAT exempt’ category.

Free and Legal Abortion on Demand

Women must not be forced to seek anyone’s permission or to demonstrate that they have a particular reason for seeking an abortion. This right must not depend on a woman’s age, income, area of residence, ability to travel, marital status, immigration status or any other qualification. Abortion must be freely available and equally accessible to all women who seek it.

High-Quality Post-Abortion Care

At present the stigma on abortion means that women who make this choice have extremely limited options on where to go if they require post-abortion counselling or medical care. It is unacceptable that women should have to rely upon access to a small number of pro-choice agencies (non-existent in many parts of the country) or if they are lucky, a sympathetic doctor or counsellor in their own area. We are calling for the expansion of such services throughout the country, and for increased training for GPs and psychological professionals to provide a high standard of non-judgmental post-abortion care.

End to Stigma Surrounding Abortion

Every year more than 6,000 Irish women travel abroad to have an abortion. They are forced to do this in secrecy, with minimal support, inventing excuses for their families, friends, employers and colleagues. Many Irish women who have abortions describe the stigma around abortion as causing far more trauma than the abortion itself.

A woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy that she is unprepared to continue is not being irresponsible, selfish or ‘taking the easy way out’. The choice to abort a foetus is a difficult personal decision and can only be made by a woman herself – away from the influence of profiteers and crusaders alike.

Practical Support for Women Seeking Abortion

The legal regime and the stigma of abortion in Ireland mean that women who want to make this choice have few places to turn for assistance and support. We intend to help fill this void.

End to Stigma Surrounding Sexual Health and Contraceptive Needs

Many young people in particular delay or avoid obtaining contraception or related services because they are embarrassed. It is time that we stopped treating sex as a deep or shameful secret.

Increased Support for Single and Low-Income Parents

The cost of childrearing acts as a very effective constraint on women’s reproductive decisions. This is a burden that falls disproportionately on single and low-income parents. There can be no real ‘right to choose’ when some women who want to have children are financially unable to do so – nor is it acceptable that women should suffer poverty as a result of making this choice.

Increased Protection for Working Mothers

Many women who are employed or seeking work will find their reproductive choices limited. Difficulties range from outright discrimination, to insufficient maternity leave, to employers’ refusal to accommodate flexible working hours and breastfeeding breaks. We call for stringent, strictly enforced statutory protections to ensure that working women are not prevented from exercising their right to have children, or penalised for doing so.

Free Access to Quality Childcare

As a result of the enormous cost of childcare in Ireland, many women either cannot exercise their choice to have children or suffer a huge financial burden if they do. This expense also limits women’s options in terms of education and employment. All options concerning publicly-funded childcare should be immediately investigated.

Additionally, women who wish to remain at home to care for young children should be able to do so. It is illogical that a person can earn income and pension entitlements for looking after someone else’s children but not for looking after their own.

End to Stigma Surrounding Single Parenthood

We emphatically reject the notion that sex and reproduction should take place only inside the nuclear family structure. The nuclear family has its origins in the development of private property and class division; today, this structure is reinforced by a religion that places control of women’s bodies at the centre of its teachings. We support the right of both men and women to raise children alone or in a non-traditional family structure.

Choice in the Method of Childbirth

The traditional practice of midwifery has declined in large part due to a concerted effort by (mostly male) doctors to establish a monopoly over care. We support women’s choice to give birth at home, in hospital or in whichever setting she deems appropriate.

Creation of More Feminist Health Centres

Women’s healthcare is not limited to reproductive concerns. The ‘care’ we receive in professionalised facilities often reflects the biases of those delivering it. We demand the establishment of more feminist health centres. This will give women throughout the country the option of obtaining high quality, genuinely woman-centred healthcare.

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Rally in Response to the ‘Miss D’ Case

Choice Ireland are calling a rally in support of ‘Miss D’ and to highlight the disgraceful situation our government has yet again caused.

Saturday May 5th @ 12pm at the G.P.O
It is now over 15 years since the X case ruling and successive Irish governments have failed to introduce abortion legislation that clears the muddied waters surrounding Irish women’s right to travel for an abortion. By failing to legislate for cases similar to that of “C” and “X” the Irish government are inflicting unnecessary trauma on women who are already in incredibly stressful situations.

Yet another harrowing case of a woman seeking to overturn an order preventing her from travelling for an abortion has come before the courts. Miss “D”, a 17 year old in the care of the HSE is four months pregnant with a child who has been diagnosed with anencephaly. The prognosis for individuals with anencephaly is extremely poor. If the infant is not still-born then he or she will usually die within a few hours or days after birth (Thompson et al., 1994). No
woman should have to endure the trauma of carrying to full term a child who will not live more than a few hours. By preventing “Miss D” from travelling the Irish government are defining women by their status as a uterine incubator rather than individuals entitled to basic human rights.

“Miss D” is another case of several that have gone before and will come again that highlight the flaws in Irish abortion law. Without legislation to deal with this issue yet more Irish women in difficult situations will have to be dragged through the courts. Not all of the women who make the difficult decision to have an abortion come to the attention of the courts and the media. Every year over 6,000 women travel to England and further a field to seek a termination. Choice Ireland are today calling for no more “X” or “D” cases, for the repeal of the 8th amendment and for free safe and legal abortion to be made available in Ireland.

The Rally will be addressed by speakers from Doctors for Choice, Choice Ireland and Alliance for Choice.

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Dublin People article

Women’s centre hits back after protest

Print E-mail
A NORTHSIDE centre offering crisis pregnancy advice has hit back at claims that it is intentionally misleading women in an effort to prevent them from considering having abortions in the UK.

A group of concerned pro-choice campaigners recently organised a protest outside the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) on Dorset Street on International Women’s Day to highlight what they claimed were “misleading” practices at the centre.

However, a spokesman for the resource centre, which also operates under the name ‘A Choice For Women’, told Northside People that it is simply trying to prevent certain organisations from profiting from abortion in the UK.

Patrick Jameson, public relations officer for the WRC, said women have a right to know and be protected from what he called “British abortion profiteers”.

Mr Jameson claimed that some agencies didn’t give women the full facts on the potential dangers and side effects of abortion.

However, the local pro-choice group that organised the protest outside the WRC has accused the centre of giving women misleading and distorted information about pregnancy and abortion services.
Mary O’Flynn, a local woman who helped organise the protest, said she attended A Choice For Women at the WRC and was distressed and shocked by the service and information she received.
Ms O’Flynn was not pregnant when she attended the centre.

“They aim to prevent women from travelling for abortion services by giving deliberate misinformation,” Ms O’Flynn claimed.

Ms O’Flynn said she was told at the WRC that the service it provides is impartial, but she became suspicious of its intentions after the information she was given.

Ms O’Flynn said the protest outside the WRC was necessary, given the fact that the discussion of abortion still remains taboo in Ireland.

“Where many women are isolated and afraid to seek the advice of family, friends and partners, pregnancy agencies offer a vital service,” Ms O’Flynn added.

However, Mr Jameson countered that women attending the WRC have a right to be protected from those who pressure them into abortions by presenting a child as a threat.

He said A Choice For Women informs women in crisis pregnancies of the full legalities surrounding abortion in both Britain and Ireland.

“We do not, however, have any association with clinics which carry out, or profit from, the practice of abortion in Britain,” Mr Jameson stated.

“As regards the possible effects of abortion, women have a right to know and be protected from British abortion profiteers.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Family Planning Association is calling on the Government to bring forward statutory regulation for all pregnancy advice and counseling services, to ensure that they do not impart misleading and incorrect advice.

Under the regulation of Information Act (1995), non-directive State funded agencies may only provide services on a face-to-face basis and there is an obligation on them to provide information on all options.

Rosie Toner, director of the Pregnancy Counselling service of the IFPA, said: “At the IFPA we give women information on all available options and then leave it up to them to make up their own mind on what course of action they want to take and we then offer counselling accordingly.

“However, pregnancy advice and counseling services which are not State funded are currently not restricted in any way and this is a major problem.”

Tuesday 27 March 2007

Newstalk Documentary

This excellent documentary about the "rogue" agency on Dorset St. went out on Newstalk last year. The agency was then known as "Alpha". Aisling O’Riordan went in and did an excellent exposé called "Abortion: My Journey". It got a lot of coverage at the time. The agency coped with it by painting over the name and changing their listing in the phone book.

Here is the podcast:
Here is an mp3:

Pro Choice Group Meeting on Thursday 29 March.

Pro Choice Group Meeting on Thursday 29 March.

Meet at TCD Front Gates at 6.50 pm.

At its meeting last week, the group confirmed the adoption of the name Choice Ireland. Topics for discussion at this weeks meeting include future action regarding the Rogue Clinic.

Report on last Saturdays picket on the Rogue Clinic at:


Picket On Rogue Clinic Saturday 24 march 2007

Picket on rogue pregnancy agency in Dublin

Audio and photos at

Photos and audio from the picket of the rogue pregnancy advice agency in Dublin. Audio (first comment) includes some an anti-choice activist trying to defend the agency on the grounds that the ends justify the means.

Picket from across the road
Note that the agency had covered up its usual sign for the morning, a further confirmation of its real agenda.

anti-choice activist who is heard on the audio

Audio interview with people at picket by Joe - WSM - personal capacity Mon Mar 26, 2007 19:30
Its 3.1 mb and around 11 minutes.Due to a technical problem with the recording equipment the are some short segments randomly missing, apologies for this
Interviews made at Saturdays picket

Saturday 24 March 2007

Rogue Anti-Choice Agency, Dorset St. - A History of Lies and Deception

Rogue Anti-Choice Agency, Dorset St. - A History of Lies and Deception

dublin rights and freedoms news report Friday March 09, 2007 16:49 by Pro Choice Activist

This article exposes the long history of the "rogue" crisis pregnancy agency operating from Dorset St. in Dublin, together with their links to parties of the far religious right. Since they have been in existence, the agency has continuously changed their name and location to avoid detection.

The "Women's Resource Centre" on Dorset St.

This is the full story of a rogue crisis pregnancy agency which has been operating in Dublin city for over a decade. Despite numerous infringements of the law, the agency has never been shut down by the state, nor have laws been introduced to ensure the regulation of crisis pregnancy agencies that purport to be pro-choice but are in reality, the complete opposite. Recently, a campaign has been set up which aims to target this agency and get it closed down – and this time, for good. We hope you will read this article and that afterwards you will consider becoming involved in this campaign and the broad movement for reproductive rights in Ireland. It is quite a long account so please bear with us – there are some very interesting things in it that we discovered along the way.Throughout the article, you will notice that we generally refer to the clinic in question as “the agency”. This is because it has no permanent name; following incidents that generate bad publicity, it changes its trading name, shop front, and sometimes even its location. The agency has had to change its name many times but generally uses a name beginning with ‘A’ (A Choice for Women, Aadams, Alpha etc) so they appear first in the phonebook. You can find the current advertisement for the agency in the Family Planning section of the phonebook – it is the largest advertisement in the section and states that it provides “all options” to women in crisis pregnancy situations. It also claims to have offices in “London, Liverpool and Manchester”, obviously implying that they are linked to abortion clinics in the U.K. In addition to this, it says that they offer “post-abortion counselling”. The layout and format of the ad are almost identical to those of genuine crisis pregnancy agencies – but their one is by far the largest. However, the advertisement for the agency differs from most of the other family planning advertisements in that it has no address, only a telephone number.From 1995 to 1999, the agency was known as the “Aadams” agency. According to their own estimation they saw 2000 women during this period. They were shut down due to a High Court ruling that they were running an illegal adoption agency. RTE covered the story at the time.“The High Court has ruled that the founder of a pregnancy counselling service had unlawful custody of a baby during the summer. The baby had been born to a student who had sought help from the agency. The infant is now being cared for by foster parents with the Eastern Health Board.In a 32-page ruling delivered over the weekend, Ms Justice Laffoy said that the agency founder had "singularly failed" to show that the 21-year-old mother's decision to give her baby to the man and his wife for adoption was a free decision. She said that they had acted in a totally inappropriate manner in relation to the young mother.The pregnancy advice agency at the centre of the case is believed to have associations with the Irish anti-abortion movement”(Full story -

In addition to this, Miriam Donohue and Carol Coulter(Legal Affairs) were writing articles about the case in the Irish Times.. The links to these articles are here .

Unfortunately you have to subscribe to be able to read the Irish Times pieces; however, here are some select quotes about the practices of the Aadams Agency at the time.

“Women taking calls to the Aadam's advertised phone numbers offered appointments for pregnancy counselling at its address when contacted last Saturday and Sunday. Callers to these numbers are not told that the counsellors are anti-abortion. On Friday a call to a different number led to an appointment at the same address. Asked if "all the options" would be discussed, the woman who took the call said: "You wouldn't believe the number of people who are suing abortion clinics in England because they are not given the full facts. The counselling is based on all the facts."” – The Irish Times

This is an account of a first-hand experience of the ‘counselling service’ received by a 20 year old Dublin girl (quoted from The Irish Times)

"In the room upstairs there was a small table and two chairs, and a television and video in the corner. The carpet was scruffy. The man asked me to do a pregnancy test and I went to the bathroom down the hall, which was just as bad. He asked me had I been using any protection. He took out a dummy of a 10-week-old foetus and said this was what was inside me, and did I want to kill it. Then he put on the video and showed all the instruments and how they perform an abortion. It was awful. I'm still going through it. He gave me all these pictures and letters from people he said went to him and decided to have their babies. There were pictures of the babies. He gave me medals and prayers, and a poem meant to be from a foetus to its mother asking not to be killed. It was spooky."

In 1999, the agency then became known as the “Women’s Counselling Network”.This is a quote from an article in the Irish Independent at the time,“THE founders of a pregnancy counselling service, who were ruled to have unlawful custody of a baby earlier this year, are now involved in a similar advice agency in Dublin. A garda investigation is underway into the activities of the former Aadams Agency, which operated in Dublin and Cork, arising from the decision of the High Court last August. The new agency, the Women's Counselling Network, is operating from Dorset St and is offering advice to women in crisis pregnancies. It is understood the new agency is operating within existing legal guidelines. Under current legislation any pregnancy agency which does not provide information on abortion is not subject to regulation.”(Full article at

The agency applied for government funding in 2003 under the name “Womens’ Resource Centre”, but was turned down.They also contributed to the government Green Paper on abortion, as did Youth Defence.“WCN” seemed to have broadly similar aims to the American "Pregnancy ResourceCentres"
This Time article,9171,159044....html
details the reliances of these agencies on ultrasound scans to get women who wanted to have abortions to change their minds. One group of these American "Pregnancy Resource Centres" has a "Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help" on its website. Here's the site – search for Ireland at this link..

You'll notice The Majella Pregnancy Centre in Limerick, the Mariel Crisis Pregnancy Center in Cork and something called The WCN International in Dublin. Although it’s not operating from the same address as the Aadams agency was, an article in the Irish Examiner clearly linked the two agencies together.“THE founder of the pregnancy advice agency at the centre of an illegal adoption storm is running as an independent by election candidate in Dublin South Central.The candidate is the founder and proprietor of the Aadam’s pregnancy advice centre. He unlawfully adopted a four day old baby from a college student who had sought advice on her crisis pregnancy from the Aadams Agency.In the High Court in August, Justice Laffoy ruled that the man could not be named, in order to prevent the mother and baby from being identified. This man is now seeking election to the Dáil.This man is also involved in another crisis pregnancy advice centre called WCN International.”(Full story at

Another Examiner article names the proprieter as Eamon Murphy.“Independent candidate Eamon Murphy is head of Aadams Women’s centre and he is a strong anti abortion campaigner.”(Full story at

These websites detail the electoral career of Eamonn Murphy. He ran for election in 1994 and 1999, once under the banner of the Christian Centrist Party.

In 2000, the agency became known as “Alpha”. They painted over their sign on the Dorset St. premises and changed their Golden Pages listing after this Newstalkdocumentary:

From 2006, the agency has been listed in the Golden Pages as “A Choice for Women”, and also as “British Alternatives Pregnancy Services”. Two listings, two numbers – but only one place.This is the official listing for the “A Choice for Women” business. Note the name – Micheal O’Lorchain.Detail on Business Name (source CRO):
Number 179441
Status Normal
Effective date: 04/05/2000
Date of Birth: Not Available

A certain Michael Larkin ran for election in 2002 on the Christian Solidarity Party ticket. Their office is around the corner from the agency at 14 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1. The links between this “crisis pregnancy agency” and the fundamental religious parties of the right are undeniable. Thankyou for reading this far – we hope that you consider getting involved. To be added to the mailing list, please contact

Report on Protest outside Rogue Anti-Choice Agency 8 March 2007

Report & Photos from Protest outside Rogue Anti-Choice Agency
dublin gender and sexuality feature Friday March 09, 2007 15:24 by Pro Choice Activist

Pro Choice Activists marked International Women's Day by holding a protest outside a Rogue family planning agency on Dorset Street. The Agency, called "Women's Resource Agency" and also using the name "British Alternatives Pregnancy Services", was covered up with a brown sheeting - in an attempt to prevent their identity and location being exposed in the media. Advertised as a pregnancy counselling agency, it subjects women in crisis pregnancies to psychological manipulation, misleading and deliberately lying about pregnancy and abortion services to prevent women from travelling for abortion services.

The lies they tell clients are designed to force women to feel guilt and shame for even considering abortion as an option. A newly formed pro-choice group in Dublin (yet to be named) has been working over the last few weeks to gather information about this place. This has included reports back from women who have been to see a 'counsellor' of the agency to get abortion information.
Also Read: Rogue Anti-Choice Agency, Dorset St. - A History of Lies and Deception

Related Links: Gender & Sexuality ArticlesPro-Choice CampaigningRAG Dayschool on Sexual ViolenceAlliance For ChoiceBODY Launch ArticleIrish Family Planning Agency

International Women's Day... The Unmanageables Protest and Blockade Min for Justice Michael McDowell's Office
In Co. Derry: Graffiti by Road
and some interesting Sculpture Alterations
Audio: Class, Feminism and Revolution - Download and Discuss

The protest was called to reveal and undermine the ability of Anti-Choice elements in society to mislead and manipulate women about pregnancy options. This crisis pregnancy agency is a disgusting example of this.The action on the day was very successful. About 30 to 40 people showed up. When we arrived they had prepared for our coming. A large brown canvas was secured on hooks from above, to mask the façade of the building. A large barrier was in front of this and attached to the railings that were permanently on the windows. This was an obvious attempt by this anti-choice group to prevent exposure.

The canvas was soon removed with the help of some direct action by a group of protestors.The Anti-choice side that a few of its ‘bully boys’ out to attempt to intimidate us. It always amazes me that it’s the heavy set middle aged men who attempt to control a women’s fertility for her. They made a bit of a scene shouting, which only served to highlight the dodgy nature of this agency. One of the protestors was informed that due to her part in the protest ‘Satan is going to visit you tonight.’ The protester in question can confirm that she has no visitors last night. Some protestors tried to engage with other anti-choice individuals. On departing a protestor was threatened by the bullyboy in question. The protesters held placards exposing the lies the agency had told women. Here are some of the lies: “Irish women are unable to get medical abortions in England, and must wait until being at least 8 weeks pregnant to get a surgical abortion” “Abortion increases the risk of breast cancer” “Women who have abortions are more likely to become abusive of children, become alcoholics, and develop congenital depression” “Abortion causes frigidity in women”

The reaction from passers by was by and large positive. Some publicity was achieved. I believe that the most productive thing is that the agency obviously knows that we are on to them. They have in the past changed their name when exposed so now we have to see what they will do. They may be forced to change their location if we keep the pressure up. Ideally we have to put them out of business by making it impossible for them to operate. The group has a good momentum going now and its vital that it is kept on track. Women have been waiting too long for the right to choose. We should look to our Portuguese counterparts and take heart in the fact that if we fight hard enough for it, it will be achieved. Look out for the next meeting, which will be posted on indymedia shortly. Solidarity.

Link to newstalk documentary on the same agency last year:

Pro Choice Action 8 March 2007.

Pro Choice Action

dublin gender and sexuality event notice Monday March 05, 2007 19:49 by Mary - Pro-choice

To mark international women’s day we are calling for a Picket outside of a rogue crisis pregnancy agency.

This is the first general action called by the newly formed pro-choice group in Dublin. Over the last few weeks, we have been gathering information about a rogue agency operating in Dublin. We have gained first hand knowledge that this agency is using unethical tactics, such as providing false information about abortions. This may have the consequence of forcing a woman to go through a later term abortion and thus increasing how evasive the procedure need be. Also they use scare tactics such as stressing the possible side effects. For example they claimed that one such potential side was that women are more liking to abuse future children if they have an abortion. To mark international women’s day we are calling for a Picket outside of this rogue agency. This is to highlight the unacceptable Irish laws on abortion in this state also the horrific tactics employed by those that are anti-pro-choice.The action is to take place outside: 50 Upper Dorset St. @ 5:30pmHope to see ya all there.

Pro Choice Campaigning Action 20 January 2007

Pro Choice Campaigning

dublin gender and sexuality news report Tuesday January 23, 2007 14:25 by Jane

Thousands of Pro Choice Leaflets were distributed in Dublin City Centre last weekend as part of a campaign to increase visibility of pro choice activism and to put the issue of Abortion Rights back on the agenda. Members of Labour Youth and BODY distributed leaflets advertising a Pro Choice Meeting that is taking place this Saturday at 3pm in the Central Hotel. There was an excellent reaction from passers by with several people stopping and to lend their support.

The issue of reproductive rights has been ignored by the mainstream media and political establishment. The positive reaction to the pro choice stalls ran over the last few weeks show that there is a growing demand for the issue of abortion rights to be discussed and acted on. Now is a great opportunity for everyone who wants to get involved in pro choice activism to unite and work together.The next stages of the campaign will be planned at the open working meeting taking place on Saturday.

Related Link: