Wednesday 8 October 2008

We've moved!

Choice Ireland now has a "proper" website at

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Debunking Myths about Abortion and Sex Education

Reproductive Health Reality Check has produced a series of videos dedicated towards debunking myths about reproductive choices and sex education. These videos take the format of a debate, providing arguments against reproductive rights and contraception access, which are then debunked with evidence.

We have posted them below for your convenience. Please note that figures quoted come from studies conducted, for the most part, in the United States.

This video deals with the issue of contraception access for youth, and the provision of it in schools:

RH Reality Check: Contraception Access For Youth from RH Reality Check on Vimeo.

The second video deals with the different kinds of pills used for reproductive choices, and clearly defines the difference between the contraceptive pill, the morning after pill, and RU486:

RH Reality Check: Emergency Contraception Vs. Abortion from RH Reality Check on Vimeo.

The video below deals with the debate between abstinence-only and comprehensive programmes of sex education:

RH Reality Check: Abstinence-Only Vs. Comprehensive Sex Education from RH Reality Check on Vimeo.

Finally, the video below deals with the argument that life begins at conception, explaining how this is an unscientific view:

RH Reality Check: Does Personhood Start At Fertilization? from RH Reality Check on Vimeo.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Choie Ireland Social

Choice Ireland invite all pro-choice people to come along to a social event. It takes place 7-10pm, Fri 26th Sept in the Teacher's club, 36 Parnell Sq. West, Dublin 1.


* A screening of a short film with footage and interviews from a recent action at the rogue pregnancy counselling agency on Dorset St.
* Photos, info and leaflets about the rogue agency campaign and other Choice Ireland activities.
* Info on how to get involved and what you can do yourself to become actively pro-choice.
* Raffle/ chance to make a donation to help out with campaigns.
* Chance to chat and share ideas with other pro-choice people.
* Stickers, Badges and suprises.
* Wine and juice provided.

Hope to see you there!

ps - email us at choiceireland AT if you want to donate anything else to the raffle

Sunday 24 August 2008

Human Rights Watch Report

Human Rights Watch are this year mounting a major inquiry into how women's human rights are being violated by the current legal situation regarding access to abortion in Ireland.

The following email is a request for women to share their personal experiences with HRW (in absolute confidentiality) for their report. Please pass it along to anyone you think might be able to help.

------------ --------- --------- --------- -

Human Rights Watch are doing a country report on Ireland on the harm that the ban on abortion does to Irish women. I along with Marianne Mollmann will be in Ireland from August 25th-29th doing fieldwork. I am also available in London to do phone interviews and background research from August 20th. I have already done fieldwork in the UK with abortion service providers on the experience of Irish women travelling to Britain to obtain an abortion.

If you might be in a position to help Human Rights Watch with this ground breaking report, you can contact me by phone at the number below from August 20th or email hrwireland@gmail. com

We are particularly interested in interviewing women who have had to travel to obtain an abortion. Confidentiality and anonymity are guaranteed to all women who may wish to be interviewed. During the week of 25 August, our priority will be to interview women about their experiences – and would ideally like to interview the following categories of women:

  • Women with fetal abnormalities pregnancies
  • Adolescents
  • Rape survivors
  • Immigrant women
  • Traveller women

We are also interested in interviewing any woman who has had to travel for an abortion on their experiences. We would also like to be able to access any women who were not able to travel and who therefore continued with the pregnancies? I am not sure how easy it would be access this group and whether they would be willing to talk to us?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Liesl Gerntholtz.

Liesl Gerntholtz

Director, Women's Rights Division

Human Rights Watch

2-12 Pentonville Road

London N1 9HP

United Kingdom

+44 (0)207 713 1995 (general)

+44 (0)207 713 2796 (direct line)

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Rogue agency forced to change name

Rogue crisis pregnancy agency the "Women's Resource Centre" has been forced to change its name following a sustained campaign by Choice Ireland.

It has emerged that the rogue crisis pregnancy agency the "Women's Resource Centre" has taken out full-page ads in the new issue of the Golden Pages under the new name "Abbey Counselling Centre". The agency, previously known as "Alpha" and "British Alternatives Pregnancy Service", has been forced to change its name several times following exposures of unethical activity, provision of false medical information and intimidation of women seeking information on abortion services. The agency, then known as the "Aadams Agency", was also named at the centre of an illegal adoption scandal in 1999.

The change in name comes in the wake of a one-month series of demonstrations mounted by Choice Ireland highlighting the activities of the agency, which operates from its base on 50 Upper Dorset Street. The agency also operates a number of "outreach" centres from private homes around Ireland.

Commenting, spokesperson Niav Keating said, "The Abbey Counselling Centre is a new cover; however, the number advertised is that of the Women's Resource Centre. While we can work to expose this agency and its practices each time they reinvent themselves, it is clear that regulations need to be set down to ensure that crisis pregnancy counselling is carried out in an ethical, honest and compassionate way."

In a further comment, spokesperson Sinead Ahern added, "We hope that our upcoming hearing with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health will further the development of legislation governing the operation of crisis pregnancy agencies. This would close the legal loophole which allows these agencies to traumatise women facing a crisis pregnancy."

This evidence of the continued operation of these "rogue" crisis pregnancy agencies closely follows the recent publication of the Commission on Patient Safety report recommending a licensing system for all healthcare providers. Minister for Health Mary Harney has failed to address the issue of rogue crisis pregnancy agencies.

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Photos from Saturday 16 July outside WRC


On Saturday, around 50 people gathered outside the WRC to show their support for the ongoing campaign to shut this agency down, and to regulate for all crisis pregnancy counselling. Thanks to all who came along, and to Bríd and Andrew for photos.





Wednesday 23 July 2008

Choice Ireland Calls on all Organisations and Individuals to Join the Big Demo Against the WRC

Choice Ireland is finishing a month of action against the rogue pregnancy counselling agency the WRC this Saturday. Choice Ireland has undertaken this month of action to raise local awareness about the operation of the clinic in the area and to generate support for our upcoming Oireachtas hearing where we will argue that legislation should be introduced to shut down rogue agencies. Choice Ireland therefore asks all like minded organisations to come and show their support for our campaign to shut down the WRC this Saturday at 1pm at number 50 Upper Dorset Street. Bring your banners and flags!

More info below.

Friday 4 July 2008

Month of Action against Rogue Agency

Choice Ireland believes that vulnerable women in crisis pregnancies deserve help and support in coming to terms with the difficult choices they face in their situation – not the lies, bullying, and manipulation of the WRC. For this reason we are campaigning to have this rogue agency shut down and as part of this campaign we will be maintaining a presence outside it every Saturday this month of July. So starting this Saturday at 1pm we will be protesting outside the WRC. This protest raises awareness about the WRC's activities and prevents them from traumatising more women for as long as we are there. Choice Ireland is preparing for an oireachtas committee meeting to have rogues agencies like this regulated and we will be collecting signatures for a petition to support this. We hope that you can offer us your support and help spread the word about what is going on. If you can't make it this Saturday then come along next Saturday or make a special effort to get to our big demo on Saturday the 26th of July.

Some Background information:

A rogue agency is a fraudulent pregnancy counselling service set up with the sole aim of taking advantage of the vulnerability of women experiencing a crisis pregnancy in order to bully them out of considering the possibility of abortion.

The WRC is located at number 50 on Upper Dorset Street. The sign above the door reads “WRC” but this rogue agency has many aliases. It was known as “Aadams” from 1995 until 1999 when that incarnation was shut down in the midst of an illegal adoption scandal. It reopened as the “Women's Counselling Network” and was more recently calling itself “Alpha” until a Newstalk exposé led it to change its name once more to the “WRC”. This agency is also known to misleadingly advertise in the yellow pages as “British Alternative Pregnancy Services” and “Choice for Women” in order to give the false impression that they will discuss all the options available to women in crisis pregnancy when they have no intention of doing so.

The agency uses many names because it has a lot to hide. This agency specialises in traumatising vulnerable women. They give medically incorrect information to women about abortion, stating that abortion causes breast cancer, child abuse, depression, fridgitity, promiscuity and infertility. They also have told women that have been raped that it is impossible to become pregnant from rape. None of this is true and the only reason they tell women these lies is to try to impede their abilitiy to make an informed decision. They have also been known to breach the confidentiality of people seeking counselling – informing family members without consent that a woman is pregnant and may be considering an abortion, giving a woman's contact details to priests, and posing as a boyfriend to try and persuade a clinic to cancel an appointment for abortion.

The agency promises women that they will be given contact details for abortion clinics in England as soon as they have had an unnecessary and expensive ultrasound at a private clinic that may take several weeks to procure. When the woman returns with her ultrasound scans the clinic then uses the images to try and talk her out of her decision once more. The reason they engage in such a tactic is to try and cause a woman additional delay and expense in the hope that this will prevent her from being able to procure an abortion.

Related Link:

Friday 23 May 2008

Choice Ireland calls on Government to stop criminalising women who have abortions

Following the inquest into a backstreet abortion procured by a Filipino woman in July 2004, Choice Ireland are tonight calling on the Government to
address the issue of abortion rights for women in Ireland. A woman
can be jailed for life if she has an abortion in Ireland, but, if she
can afford to travel, she can avail of a termination outside the

Commenting spokesperson Niav Keating said "In 2004, the government
ruled out any review of current abortion legislation despite media
coverage of two illegal back-street abortions that had taken place in
Dublin that summer. In April 2008, the Council of Europe called on
Ireland to decriminalise abortion and warned that Ireland's abortion
ban does not result in fewer abortions but instead means women have no
choice but to undergo traumatic backstreet abortions."

Commenting spokesperson Sinead Ahearn said "It's time for the
government to stop ignoring the plight of women who cannot travel
outside this State to procure a termination. It's time for free, safe
and legal abortion services to be introduced in Ireland"

Quotes End.


Back street abortions are not a new phenomenon in Ireland and between
1926 and 1974 there were at least 58 recorded prosecutions under the
1861 Offences against the Persons Act. However, since the 1967
Abortion Act in Britain, back street abortion had ceased to be a major
problem in Ireland as many Irish women travelled to the UK to
terminate a pregnancy. Since 1967, 5 women are known to have died
from back street abortions in Northern Ireland.

A report published in the medical journal, The Lancet, last year
concluded that there is little difference in abortion rate worldwide
regardless of whether the procedure is legal or illegal. The report
referred to is "Induced abortion: estimated rates and trends
worldwide" by Gilda Sedgh, Stanley Henshaw, Susheela Singh, Elizabeth
Ahman and Iqbal H. Shah. It is published in the current issue of 'The
Lancet' (Volume 370, Number 9595). It can be accessed online

Choice Ireland is a diverse group of Pro-Choice activists campaigning
for free, safe and legal abortion services in Ireland.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Choice Ireland welcomes UK Parliament's vote to maintain 24 week time limit on abortion.

Pro-choice activists, Choice Ireland, have tonight welcomed the UK Parliament's decision to maintain the 24 week time limit on abortion. Efforts to reduce the upper time limits for abortions have been overwhelmingly rejected by MPs.

Several peer reviewed studies have demonstrated that survival rates below 24 weeks gestation have not changed since 1990 when the abortion legislation in the UK was last reviewed.

Commenting spokesperson Sinead Ahern says "only a very small proportion of terminations are carried out after 20 weeks (1.45%). The women who seek these late stage terminations tend to be the most vulnerable of women in particular those carrying foetuses with severe genetic abnormalities. Restricting time limits on abortion would not remove the need for the procedure and would only affect women in difficult positions”.

"This issue is especially important to Irish women" continues spokesperson Niav Keating. "Irish women, due to the delays associated with travelling outside the State, are more likely to have later terminations than their British counterparts. We are delighted that the 24 week time limit will remain in the UK but we renew our call for the Irish government to introduce free, safe and legal abortion services".

Quotes End.

Sunday 6 April 2008

Report from Feminist Walking Tour

At half past two on a crisp, sunny Saturday, over 140 people, of all ages, gathered at St Stephen’s Green front arch – exceeding all expectations – to attend the a Feminist Walking Tour marking International Women's Day.


Organisers with red screen-printed t-shirts (the image showing a high heel shoe and a boot – ready for walking!) mingled with the eager crowd, chatting, handing out information booklets, distributing green and purple suffragette ribbons and stickers to organise people into the two tours. There were activity sheets for the kids (and the big kids) and free lollipops for all!

The tour was organised by Choice Ireland and RAG, who came together to share their expertise and enthusiasm to promote a strong feminist message. “We didn’t want a protest march,” says one tour organiser, “but the walking tour was a fun way to get women out on the streets and celebrating feminism”.

The tour guides for the day were Carol Hunt – a history graduate and veteran tour guide – and Sinead Ahern, one of Choice Ireland’s finest spokespeople. Carol joked that she used to run a women’s history walking tour around Dublin, but that it was often not that well attended by men – until she changed the tour’s name to “A Sexual History of Dublin.” Same tour – different name – far better male attendance!

The tour meandered across town, tracing women’s history in the city – from the Brehon Laws, to the Ladies Land League of the 1880’s, through the suffragette movement, the women involved in workers and republican struggles, to the radical feminist movement of the 1970’s and the anti- domestic and sexual violence movements to present-day pro choice struggles.

There were also a number of guest speakers along the route. Edel Cribbin, of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre spoke about the organisation, its vital role, its lack of funding and reliance on volunteers. A community development worker, Amel Yacef, spoke about the particular difficulties facing migrant women in Ireland. Alan Mc Simoin, who was involved in the Contraception Action Programme in the 1970’s and is still active in pro-choice campaigning today, spoke about the X-case and the thousands of people who came out on the streets to support Miss X in 1992.

Helen Keyes from Choice Ireland spoke outside the “rogue” pregnancy-counselling agency on Dorset St. The so-called Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) is a fundamentalist Christian front which advertises, falsely claiming to provide information on all crisis-pregnancy options. However, once inside, it subjects vulnerable women to extreme anti-abortion propaganda. It was the existence of this agency and the fact that pregnancy counselling still goes unregulated in Ireland that first prompted Choice Ireland to form. Helen described how members of the group visited the agency to investigate what was really happening inside the WRC – even going as far as to source “pregnant pee” and conceal it on their persons! As she spoke during the tour on Saturday, a potato was thrown from a third floor window of the building, injuring one woman. The tour hastily reconvened around the corner, a safe distance from the WRC.

At the end of the tour, happy hungry walkers were invited back to the Teacher’s Club on Parnell Square, where free soup and sandwiches were well received by all. Two short, recently-made, feminist films were shown. These were “The Future of Feminism” by Cara Holmes and Breaking the Silence” by Katie Gillum – who also filmed the walking tour for Dublin Community Television. RAG had their distribution table at the back of the room selling their magazine as well as books, zines, moon cups, badges and more. There was information and leaflets from Choice Ireland. There was also music from the extremely talented young singer-songwriter duo Heathers.

There was a fun atmosphere with lots of lively discussion and reflection on the day. People chatted, old friends met and new ones were made. There was some struggling over dot-to-dot puzzles and word-searches from the kid’s activity sheet (though not only from the kids!) In the corner, some organisers were counting up donations to see if they had covered their costs. “We’re not sure,” one said, “the printing is the biggest cost, we don’t know exactly how much it will be yet, so we’ll see what happens!”

The booklet printed for the day is attractive and well put together - a mine of information to take away from the event. Its 24 colour pages include an introduction, map and background information on all the stops on the route; further sites of interest are also marked around the city. The booklet is interspersed with remarkable facts and stories of Irish women’s struggle down through the years. A listing of women’s and feminist organisations of interest are provided in the back pages. If you didn’t make the tour, but would like a copy of the booklet please email to request a copy: feministwalkingtour AT Information on the organisers is available at and

The Walking Tour organisers would like to express their sincere thanks to everyone who came along and helped make the event such a great success.

Choice Ireland is a pro-choice group formed in 2007 with an explicitly feminist agenda. “Feminism is the focus which keeps the group on track,” says one member, “and the reason why we are fighting.” RAG is an anarcha-feminist group, formed two years ago, which publishes an annual magazine, “the Rag” and holds regular open discussions and workshops.


Wednesday 5 March 2008

International Women's Day


Press Release for the Feminist Walking Tour of Dublin.

This year feminists in Dublin will be celebrating International Women’s Day, 8th March 2008, by taking to the streets for a Walking Tour of Dublin. This guided walk will visit several sites relevant to the history of Irish women. This entertaining and educational tour will begin at St Stephen’s Green Arch at 14:30 on Saturday, 8th March and will last approximately two hours.

The walking tour has been organised by Choice Ireland in association with the RAG collective and other women's groups and individuals. An information booklet and map has been produced to accompany the walk. The walking tour will be followed by a social event in the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Commenting Niav Keating said:

“From the Monto to the Magdalene laundries, the tour will bring the sexual history of Irish women to life. We are delighted to have Carol Hunt conducting the tour. The aim of the tour is highlight the many achievements of the women’s movement in Ireland. However, we still have a long way to go”.

Niav Keating added:

“In 2008, women are told that they are equal to men and that there is no longer a need for feminism. However, thirty years after equal pay legislation women earn on average 11% less than men. Ireland has one of the worst parliamentary gender balances in the democratic world. Currently, only 22 of the 166 TDs in Leinster House are women. Ireland also has one of the most draconian abortion laws in Europe”.
Quotes end.

Choice Ireland is a diverse group of Pro-Choice activists campaigning for free, safe and legal abortion services in Ireland. The RAG is a magazine published annually by an anarchafeminist group based in Dublin.

Related Link:
Related Link:


Further details here:

After-event will take place in the Teacher's Club, Parnell Sq at 5pm. With soup (for hungry walkers!), information table/RAG distro, screening of a short film "The Future of Feminism" by Cara Holmes, and music from Heathers (

If you can't make it on the day, email feministwalkingtour AT for pdf or hard copy of the (beautiful, informative and free!) booklet to do it yourself.

Friday 1 February 2008

Happy St Brigid's Day – Ireland's first abortionist

Ireland's only female patron saint, Brigid of Kildare, celebrates her feast day today, February 1st. A date that is traditionally the first day of spring, and chosen presumably because of the associations St Brigid has with fertility. She was a conglomeration of the pre-Christian goddesses that preceded her – a Celtic figure appropriated by the Church to boost pagan conversion. She was subsequently ousted in favour of the patriarchal figure of St Patrick and the impossible virgin-mother Mary.

While many will know that Brigid is a patron of healing, fertility and learning, the Church are not so quick to tell us she was in fact Ireland's first recorded abortionist. In 650 AD a biographer of Brigid, Cogitosus, told the story of a young woman who had broken her vow of chastity and fell pregnant as a result. The young woman went to see Brigid, who took care of the problem:

Brigid, exercising with the most strength of her ineffable faith, blessed her, caused the fetus to disappear without coming to birth, and without pain.

Today, of course, Brigid would be excommunicated for this 'miracle', which explains why this particular biographical sketch does not appear in any of the annals of history sanctioned by the Church. It is well documented in detail in the original writings of Cogitosus and yet it conveniently remains absent from modern translations. In the 7th century, Brigid performed an abortion on a young woman. This was perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the Church then and her ability to 'cause the fetus to disappear' was considered nothing short of a miracle. If she lived today, Pope Benedict XVI would tell us that she was 'co-operating in evil'. How times change.

Current Church teaching on this is a manifestation of patriarchy. Just as 'Saint Brigid' is an embodiment of goddesses past, the story of her kindness in helping another woman reflects what women have been doing for each other since time began – privately, and with love and consideration. A woman’s autonomy over her own life and body should not be crushed in order to achieve a moral or religious goal. This is something that Brigid herself acknowledged, and the Church would do well to remember - before labelling those who support the modern equivalent to the actions Brigid took as the 'gravest injustice'. It is time to take the rosaries away from ovaries and today remember just who St Brigid was – Ireland’s first abortionist.

Friday 25 January 2008

Castlebar radio host supports rogue agencies

In December of last year, Choice Ireland sent out a press release announcing our most recent protest against the rogue crisis pregnancy agency at 50 Upper Dorset Street in Dublin.

The Castlebar Community Radio host John Murphy replied to our press release describing our campaign as a "sinister and disgusting attack on counselling agencies who counsell [sic] in the saving of lives (mother and child)."

Mr Murphy subsequently refused a Choice Ireland spokesperson's offer to debate him on the issue on his radio programme, on the supposed grounds that the spokesperson was an "accessory to murder" and that the matter is therefore "sub-judice". Choice Ireland has copies of these emails, both of which were sent on a CRC FM email account.

Rural women are among those particularly affected by the taboo on abortion in this country. Castlebar is situated thirty minutes from Knock Airport where, over the past forty years, several thousand women have boarded flights to England for abortions. They have done so in silence and secrecy, their often-traumatic journey compounded by returning to the slander of "murderer" by people like Mr Murphy. It seems that he would wish to increase their psychological distress even further by subjecting them to the lies and manipulation of the so-called counselling agencies.

John Murphy's refusal to publicise the Choice Ireland statement or to allow an on-air debate on the issue belies the claim of his station to be community radio. A true community institution serves the entire population of its area. Women who have considered abortion in a crisis pregnancy situation represent a significant proportion of any community - more, undoubtedly, than Mr Murphy realises.

They deserve to have issues of concern to them acknowledged and discussed in an open, mature and realistic fashion - not hushed-up and censored because they challenge the narrow conservative views of their local radio talk show host.

Friday 18 January 2008

Feminist Walking Tour - March 8th

Celebrate International Women's Day
What? Feminist Walking Tour
When? IWD Sat March 8th, 2.30pm
Where? Meet at Stephen's Green Arch
Why? Education, Celebration, Visibility, Solidarity, Fun!
Celebrate International Women's Day by joining us on a Feminist Walking Tour of Dublin city centre. The tour is free (although donations welcome) and will last approx 2 hours. All are welcome to attend - no need to book. You are also invited to come along in your best drag/ feminist fancy dress! Meet on Sat March 8th at 2.30pm at the main entrance to Stephen's Green (opposite the shopping centre).

The tour will be an informative and entertaining take on women's history in Ireland - from the Brehon Laws, through women's role in the early formation of the state, labour movements, the resurgence of feminism in the 1970's, the movement against domestic/sexual violence, and the continuing struggle for reproductive rights. There will be a particular emphasis on the contemporary women's movement in its many guises and acknowledging the challenges facing all women, particularly those experiencing poverty or exclusion and women from minority ethnic communities.

An information booklet/map will be provided on the day (and an activity sheet to keep the younger feminists amused!)

The tour will be followed by a social event in the evening with music and fun! Further details to be confirmed.

For more information/ to help out, email

The tour is being organised by members of Choice Ireland in association with the RAG collective and other women's/feminist groups and individuals.