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Rogue Anti-Choice Agency, Dorset St. - A History of Lies and Deception
rights, freedoms and repression |
Friday March 09, 2007 17:49 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 - http://www.rte.ie/news/1999/0830/custody.html)
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 http://www.ireland.com/cgi-bin/dialogserver?DB=all&THRE...adams .
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 http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=...d=537)
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 Resource
Centres" This Time article http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,159044....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.. http://www.heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide_directo...y.asp
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 http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/10/23/ipage_3...3.htm)
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 http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/10/26/ipage_1.htm)
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 Newstalk
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):
A CHOICE FOR WOMEN - WOMEN'S RESOURCE CENTRES
50, UPPER DORSET STREET,
Effective date: 04/05/2000
Owner Name: MICHEAL O'LORHCAIN
Date of Birth: Not Available
Address: 5A, TOLKA COTTAGES,
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 horganjones.jane AT gmail.com.