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Graphic pro-life 'education project' to take place in Dublin today

Abortion providers have criticised organisers for ‘intimidating’ women.

protest 1 A cropped version of one of the signs Source: ICBR

A NUMBER OF pro-life groups are planning to display graphic images at anti-abortion events in Ireland and the UK today.

The ‘education projects‘ are set to be held outside airports in Belfast and Manchester, and on Dame St in Dublin city centre this afternoon.

The organisations involved say the move is in response to the recent decision by the British government to pay for abortions for women travelling from Northern Ireland to England for the procedures.

The events are being organised by the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR), Precious Life (based in Northern Ireland) and Abort67 (based in England).

The ICBR says the demonstrations will feature displays of “large graphic images of aborted babies, to show the humanity of the unborn child and expose the horrific reality of abortion which the abortion industry strives to keep hidden from Irish women travelling to England for the procedure”.

The events, which will be happening at various times from noon to 4pm, will be livestreamed on the groups’ Facebook pages.

Similar events were planned to take place at Dublin and Cork airports but, as previously reported by TheJournal.ie, did not receive permission from the airports.

Bernadette Smyth, director of Precious Life, said the British government’s decision to fund abortions for women from Northern Ireland is “outrageous”.

“We are standing outside Belfast International Airport to show women the truth about abortion, before the abortion providers lie to them about what abortion actually does to them and their baby,” Smyth said.

Abort67 spokesperson Ruth Rawlins stated that the British government’s decision is ”about the abortion industry expanding business and increasing profits off the blood of Irish babies”.

‘Consumer protection initiative’

In a statement, Jean Simonis, director of the ICBR, noted: “Most abortions on Irish women in the UK are performed by BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) or Marie Stopes. That is why we are joining together to stand as part of a consumer protection initiative.

“We will show their ‘consumer client’ what they would never dare to – abortion reality. Some women who see the images will change their minds, which those businesses that profit from abortion don’t want.”

protest 3 Source: ICBR

In response to criticism about using graphic images at the events, Simonis said: “This is not a demonstration but education so women are informed about the choice they are making.

We don’t have to protest abortion. We simply hold up the image of an aborted baby and abortion protests itself.

“If we find it so distressing to look at abortion photos, why would we tolerate abortion practice? If showing this is way too awful, then why do we make it lawful?”

‘Targeting women’

Responding to the planned events, a BPAS spokesperson told TheJournal.ie: “In targeting ‎women on the day they know many will be travelling to access the care they are denied at home these groups aren’t showing respect for human life, but utter disregard for the lives of women.

The live-streaming on Facebook is a tactic deliberately designed to intimidate and threaten, by making women fear their identity will be compromised. These protesters have every right to campaign against the reform of abortion law that public opinion increasingly supports – but to treat women in this way is quite simply contemptible.

A spokesperson for Marie Stopes International said: “Women’s choices should be respected and supported, not opposed. While we are confident that this demonstration will do nothing to change women’s minds about whether or not to go ahead, the fact remains that no woman makes this decision lightly and the protesters are just making a difficult day even tougher.

“It’s a hugely positive step forward that women in Northern Ireland who are UK citizens and taxpayers are now able to access free abortions on the NHS. However, they are still faced with the cost and stress of travelling to the mainland in order to receive safe, legal healthcare,” the spokesperson added.

Thousands of women travelling to the UK 

Figures released by the UK Department of Health last month show that 3,265 women and girls travelled from Ireland to the UK for abortions in 2016. That means Irish females accounted for almost seven in 10 (67.9%) of the non-resident abortions carried out in Britain last year.

The figures show that a further 724 women gave addresses from Northern Ireland.

original Source: UK Department of Health

Also in June, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Ireland’s abortion legislation violated the human rights of a woman.

The finding was made in relation to the case of Siobhán Whelan, who was denied an abortion in 2010 after the diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality. It echoes the same committee’s June 2016 decision in the case of Amanda Mellet, who chose to travel to the UK to have a termination. In November, the State offered to pay her €30,000 in compensation.

A referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment, which gives equal status to the life of the unborn and the mother, is set to take place in the Republic next year.

Read: Graphic pro-life events planned for Cork and Dublin airports ‘won’t get permission’

Read: Irish women account for seven in 10 non-resident abortions carried out in UK

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