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.

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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.