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Graphic abortion posters displayed outside Rotunda again despite requests from hospital not to

The Irish Centre for Bioethical Reform conducted the displays outside the hospital today.

People block the ICBR posters outside the Rotunda Hospital
People block the ICBR posters outside the Rotunda Hospital
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

GRAPHIC IMAGERY RELATING to pregnancy and abortion has been displayed outside a maternity hospital in Dublin again today despite requests that a group not show the posters.

On Tuesday, the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR) displayed graphic imagery showing foetuses outside the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, the Rotunda Hospital and the Coombe Hospital.

The imagery was placed very close to the entrances of both hospitals, which meant that passers-by and those on their way into the hospital would have full sight of their content.

The group – which is opposed to abortion – had a number of individuals stationed at the hospitals holding up the large signs.

Today, the Rotunda Hospital issued a statement on social media outlining that “despite previous pleas to refrain from protesting” outside the hospital entrance, the group was again displaying graphic imagery in the building’s vicinity.

Gardaí attended the scene this afternoon, however, it is understood that no arrests were made.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Rotunda Hospital said: “In the interest and wellbeing of our patients and staff, we recently engaged with campaigners and groups representing both sides of the current referendum to remove graphic and distasteful postering from the vicinity of the hospital.

“This protest has caused a lot of upset and distress for patients, many of whom attend the hospital for a number of different reasons and not just for the happy occasion of giving birth to a new baby.”

Obstetrician Mary Higgins – who has advocated a yes vote in the referendum – tweeted earlier in the week that women who may have experienced miscarriage from a previous pregnancy would have to walk right by the signs on the way into the hospital.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie this evening, a spokesperson for the ICBR said: “Let’s move beyond the misogynistic idea that people are too inherently weak or emotionally fragile to see prenatal imagery.

Let’s trust and respect women enough to show them the truth.

“Images of preborn children are no more graphic than images of born children. The difference is that almost no one questions the humanity of born children but people are uncertain about the humanity of pre-born children. Perhaps people find these signs so upsetting because they directly show the humanity of the unborn when every effort is made to keep their humanity hidden from view.”

Criticism

A spokesperson for one of the major retain the Eighth groups has been critical of the tactics of the ICBR in displaying such graphic imagery outside schools and hospitals.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie on Tuesday, Save the 8th spokesperson John McGuirk said: “These people are not Irish. They are not connected to our campaign, or to any other mainstream No campaign.

We have asked them to stop doing it. We are asking them go home. We hope they do so.

A Together for Yes spokesperson was also critical of the tactics.

They told TheJournal.ie: “[We] do not think this is an appropriate use of posters in this campaign.

These are deeply personal and private matters for women and their families, and such tactics only serve to cause further distress to people who might be receiving difficult news about their pregnancies.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie earlier this week, Jean-Simonis Engela, from the ICBR, said that criticism of his group’s actions was “disingenuous virtue signalling” and that the public “has a right to see” what an aborted foetus looks like.

Engela rejected criticism of holding the posters outside maternity hospitals specifically, and said that people often thank them for being there. He also said that the group would continue with these activities in the run-up to the referendum on 25 May.

With reporting by Sean Murray.

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