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Choice Ireland completes month of action against WRC

category dublin | gender and sexuality | news report author Saturday July 26, 2008 20:20author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity) Report this post to the editors

Saturday lunchtime saw dozens of pro-choice activists take part in the final picket of the month of action against the rogue pregnancy counselling agency on Dorset street,
Representatives of the union of Students turned up to support the picket
Representatives of the union of Students turned up to support the picket

Choice Ireland undertook this month of action to raise local awareness about the operation of the clinic in the area and to generate support for their upcoming Oireachtas hearing where they will argue that legislation should be introduced to shut down rogue agencies.

Over 50 people took part in the picket leading to the arrival of the Gardai mid-way through to request that part of the footpath be kept clear.

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author by Andrewpublication date Sat Jul 26, 2008 20:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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A sticker reamins from last years pickets
A sticker reamins from last years pickets

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author by brídpublication date Mon Jul 28, 2008 18:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

WRC Protest

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author by Melpublication date Mon Jul 28, 2008 22:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh So I get it now,

You folks just want these pregnant girls to have the right to chose an abortion, not the right to go to the Women's Resource Centre where they might hear a person supporting their choice to give birth to their unborn child.

Pro-Choice ? Pro- abortion , Anti- Choice obvioulsy.

author by griffpublication date Mon Jul 28, 2008 23:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's not like the WRC is giving out clear anti-abortion information. It's peddling lies about needing scans etc so that women will waste time and make their lives more difficult.

author by Interestedpublication date Mon Jul 28, 2008 23:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

....the Progressive Democrats represented there.

I had heard that they were moving back to their liberal origins.

author by Helen - Choice Ireland- pers cappublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 09:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mel,

If you read the article, you will see that Choice Ireland are protesting outside this agency because it lies to women and provides them with incorrect medical information. Choice Ireland do not protest outside openly pro-life clinics, of which there are many in Dublin. Choice Ireland believe that it is a woman's right to choose to go to whatever pregnancy counselling provider that she likes, one which offers to discuss all of her options or an openly pro-life clinic. It is important that all pregnancy counselling services adhere to medical ethics.

Choice Ireland protests outside the WRC rogue agency because:

1) It falsely advertises as a pro-choice clinic

2) It provides dangerously incorrect medical information

3) 'Counsellors' there have breached the confidentiality of women seeking their services

4) This is currently allowed through a legal loophole

author by Elisa O'Dpublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Considering it's a PD TD who is responsible for this atrocity to continue?

Back in 2005 Harney said it would be "wasteful" and "too bureaucratic" to regulate rouge pregnancy agency's. This is despite the fact that agency's such as the WRC are thriving throughout Ireland,this is not just confined to Dublin,inflicting horrific images,advice and very contorted half truths on really vulnerable young women/couples.

Mary Harney has been consistently asked since 2005,when the WRC was first highlighted, to pass legislation regulating crisis pregnancy agencies. She's obviously to busy opening up all these new posh, private hospitals to care that young women seeking comfort and advice at a uncertain,terrifying time are being traumatised by persuasive people out to push their own agenda.

The PD's presence there then was rather hollow I think.

author by Ronniepublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its a waste of time to start identifying people at protests. You organise, people come, everyones happy.

author by Melpublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Helen,

You say they are guilty of preying on girls and playing on their fears at the most sensitive time. For that to be true the place would have to be staffed by immoral ruthless people who are so fundamentalist in their thinking that they are prepared to go to extremes to stop abortions in any means possible. While that is possible , it is not likely. I think the truth of the situation must lie between the two parties. Their anti-abortion stance and your pro-abortion stance. I have a gut feeling that much hyperbole and exxageration was employed by your side in order to get so many to turn out. Dont try to act as though their is not a militant and fundamentalist pro-abortion lobby out there.

author by Helen - Choice Ireland- pers cappublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 15:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree. The PDs weren't represented at the protest. Individual members may have been there in another capacity. It's great that so many people turned out.

Thanks

author by Helen - Choice Ireland- pers cappublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 15:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Woaaah! Firstly, Choice Ireland are a pro-choice group. We support a woman's reproductive rights- that is her right to choose to have sex or not to have sex. We support a woman's choice to become pregnant or not, to remain pregnant and give birth or not to remain pregnant. That is, we are not a pro-abortion group- our aims include seeing the introduction of free childcare, and more support for parents and children. The idea is that we support a woman's choice...geddit?

Secondly, for reasons outlined above, pro-choice and pro-life are not two extremes of one argument. The pro-life campaign insists that women should be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy. A pro-abortion group would insist on mandatory abortions for all women (I have never heard of a group like this). These represent two extremes of one argument- no abortions allowed or forced abortions for all. The pro-choice movement is slap bang in the middle ground here. We suggest that women should be allowed to choose whether they want to continue a pregnancy or to have an abortion. That is, it's the woman's choice and we support that.

Thirdly, I understand your incredulity that anyone would actually subject a woman to such terrible and unethical treatment in a crisis pregnancy. Unfortunately, your incredulity is ungrounded. I have attended this rogue agency myself, as have several other women in the group. The lies we were told and the manipulation the 'counseller' in the agency used chilled me. The rogue agency is funded and run by the Christian Solidarity Party, a right-wing extremist Christian group. Those who run the agency will happily admit to lying to women and giving medical disinformation. At one of the protests outside the WRC, the owner claimed he was proud of what he was doing, and compared it with lying to a child who is about to walk off a cliff by luring it back with sweets.

Finally, you accuse Choice Ireland of exaggerating and using hyperbole in order to get people to come to a protest. Choice Ireland is solely concerned with the reproductive rights of women, and has no interest in exaggerating or using hyperbole. Our aim in this instance is to highlight the existence of a rogue agency in Dublin and to push for legislation ensuring that all pregnancy counselling services must adhere to medical ethics.

author by Joepublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 'sure they are as bad as each other' is an old, old bit of rhetoric to justify all sorts of shit. It doesn't work here though as at the start of these pickets the WRC crowd were dumb enough to allow me to record them justifying lying to women - http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/mar2007/rogue24marc...h.mp3 - recorded at one of the first pickets, March 2007, original story at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81655

I've been active on pro-choice stuff for many years and been at many of the WRC pickets but I've yet to find someone who is 'pro-abortion,' whatever that might mean. That's a misleading label that is exclusively used by the anti-choice movement. Pro-choice simply means that the decision to continue a pregnancy or not is one for the women alone, one could even be pro-choice and personally convinced that abortion is always the wrong choice. Providing you don't think your views should be imposed on the women concerned it doesn't matter what those views are.

author by Melpublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 17:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Folks,

I am of the opinion that the "pro-Choice" agenda is for all intents and purposes pro-abortion. It promotes the provision of the Abortion on Demand service and as such is intent on the normalisaiton of abortion in society. If there is a definition of pro-abortion, in my opinion that is it. Pro-abortion is not forcing people to have abortions , thats ridiculous. But it is the forcing of the normalisaiton of abortion on demand in society. I am not anti-abortion in the same way as I am not anti-gun. Guns are a necessary resort in times of desperation, when all else fails and when life is endagered. But there is no clean cut case for the use of guns as even in the most apparently justifiable cases there is always the "what-if" factor. So I dont agree with the argument that says pro-choice is not pro-abortion or that there is not such thing as pro-abortion. Thats why I dont trust your rhetoric or the obviously feministic sentiments of the people in your podcast. People have a way of finding a whipping boy for flogging out there agendas on. The undisclosed agenda is not the chastisement of the whipping boy but the normalisation of flogging.

That said, If you are correct in what you say about the activities of these people in the WRC then indeed they should be challenged and if by regulating the agencies the type of abuse you describe will be stopped then I suppose I support your protest in its basic premise. But I dont for one minute believe that your ultimate goal is not the implementation of Abortion on demand, which is a completely different argument. And I'm not convinced that there are not many among the numbers at your protest who are just as underhanded at getting to their desired end result as those tricksters you claim operate in the WRC.

author by Helen - Choice Ireland- pers cappublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 17:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mel,

Let us be clear- Choice Ireland supports the decriminalisation of abortion in Ireland. We also support better healthcare and childcare provisions for parents and children, along with more economic support for people who choose to become parents. In short, we are looking for a situation where a woman can choose to continue a pregnancy or not continue a pregnancy without being criminalised or marginalised.

One of the goals of Choice Ireland is free, safe and legal abortions for women who choose not to continue a pregnancy. This is a clearly-stated aim of ours (see choiceireland.blogspot.com). We are neither tricksters nor underhand. Choice Ireland presents itself as a pro-choice group, seeking, among other things, the legalisation of abortion services in Ireland.

Campaigning for legislation to prevent rogue agencies from operating is just one of the areas within which we work. We operate within the broader context of campaigning for reproductive justice and a situation where a woman is safe and supported in making decisions about her reproductive life.

Choice Ireland is a feminist group, and you will again find this in our founding documents, freely available at choiceireland.blogspot.com.

I hope this clears thing up for you, in that you are no longer under the impression that Choice Ireland operates in a similar manner to the WRC, under false pretenses or cloaked in secrecy.

author by Melpublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Helen,

Thanks for your clarifications. You are clearly stating that your objective is, among other things, abortion on demand in Ireland. I dont support that but I dont deny you the right to campaign for it. I didnt say that your organisation is underhanded I said I have no doubt that the primary motivation of many of the people in your protest is to see legal abortion on demand. Keeping in mind the militancy with which some people expect to bring about abortion on demand I have every reason to suspect that this protest is a means to an end in achieving the end goal of abortion on demand which many people in the pro-choice spectrum seem to see as a god given right or in many cases transcends god who has no right to stand in their way of getting abortion on demand.To me there is little or no difference in someone like that and someone who tends towards one sided bias with the truth in order to achieve their end goal i.e. to avert an abortion from happening. Two extremes using whatever vehicle available to get to their intended destination, to hell with the comprimises.To me it seems you have at least three principles conflated into the argument either intentionally or by the nature of your disposition on this subject.
1. The regulation of the "rogue" agencies (which based on the claims you are making is a good standpoint)
2. The right of choice to abortion being reliant on forcing abortion on demand in Ireland.
3. The right of the carrier of the child to be the sole actorin the pregnancy.

I dont support people who prey on young or ignorant girls to trick them into not having an abortion and I dont support militant feminists who are hellbent on bringing about abortion on demand in this country.If I only have the claims of the latter with which to assess the former then I am likely to be suspicious of the latters ulterior motives when they are describing the former's ulterior motives.

author by Mark Cpublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Helen,

You say: "We support a woman's choice to become pregnant or not, to remain pregnant and give birth or not to remain pregnant."

What way can this be interpreted besides as abortion on demand?

You say "we" so I can presume (I think) that you mean Choice Ireland. You then say you (plural) "support" a woman's choice to "remain pregnant or not remain pregnant".

Perhaps you can explain how I am getting mixed-up.

Regards,
Mark.

author by Helen - Choice Ireland- pers cappublication date Tue Jul 29, 2008 23:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Mel, Mark, and Choice Member,

Choice Ireland calls for free and legal abortion on demand. You can find this clearly stated in the "What do we want?" section of our blogspot, at the bottom of the main page. Just to absolutely clarify Choice Ireland's aims, I will reproduce them here:

Free Access to Accurate Information on All Crisis Pregnancy Options

Legislation Regulating Information Provided by Crisis-Pregnancy Centres

Immediate Legislation for the X and C Cases

Proper Sex-Education

Free Access to Multiple Forms of Contraception Including the Morning-After Pill

Free and Legal Abortion on Demand

High-Quality Post-Abortion Care

End to Stigma Surrounding Abortion

Practical Support for Women Seeking Abortion

End to Stigma Surrounding Sexual Health and Contraceptive Needs

Increased Support for Single and Low-Income Parents

Increased Protection for Working Mothers

Free Access to Quality Childcare

End to Stigma Surrounding Single Parenthood

Choice in the Method of Childbirth

Creation of More Feminist Health Centres

Full text can be found at http://choiceireland.blogspot.com/2007/05/founding-docu....html

You can see that pushing for legislation regulating information provided by crisis pregnancy centres is one of our aims. This should not be confused with Choice Ireland campaigning against rogue agencies as part of a larger 'masterplan'. Choice Ireland would like to see change in each and all of the issues highlighted above.

Again, this information is freely available on Choice Ireland's blogspot (choiceireland.blogspot.com).

author by Edmond Dantes - Chateau d'Ifpublication date Wed Jul 30, 2008 13:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mel,

You're playing the typical centrist tactic: who do I trust when everyone is an extremist?

I can give you a simple answer. You trust the people who do not lie.

Choice Ireland has NEVER made it a secret that their agenda is for greater reproductive freedom. Choice Ireland has NEVER made it a secret that they are a feminist organisation. Choice Ireland has NEVER made it a secret that reproductive freedom INCLUDES free safe and legal abortion AS WELL as better access to contraceptives, better sex education, etcetera.

The WRC and their ilk, on the other hand, hide under pro-choice-sounding names to lure people. They do NOT advertise as what they are, a Christian fundamentalist, pro-life organisation.

You trust the people who show their true colours. You think Choice is doing all they are doing to get abortion on demand. That is a significant aim of Choice Ireland, but it is NOT the only one. You simply want to believe it is their only aim because you object to it so strongly. Moreover, you worked God into your argument. Subtle, but I'm not sold. God has no place when talking about the reproductive rights of women.

-Edmond

author by Melpublication date Sat Aug 02, 2008 19:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry Edmond but its not a straw man argument. I am not even arguing the main point of the thread , which is that agencies dealing with medical matters should be regulated by a competent and apprpriate regime. I have continually stated that I would support this position if it were true. So presuming it is true then the protest is laudable. I think such agencies should be regulated too.
My point was that the protest was a well aimed shot in the course of a long fight - That is, the fight to bring abortion on demand to this country. Helen clearly states that and I respect her clarifications. I also respect many of the points on the agenda of the organisation listed above. Particularly free contraception including the Morning after pill and comprehensive sex education. Thats my main point.

But I do not support militant feminists who demand complete unfettered rights to abortion on demand on the sole premise that it's "their wombs". In my poinion it's "our society". I also have no support to offer for spouters of crumby phrases such as "reproductive freedom". Its like something that politicians use when they are really too lazy or devious to express their arguments with proper points instead of buzz words or christian fundamentalist trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes.

So to choice Ireland I say , Congrats on a well attended protest that seems to have a worthy goal but I understand that this is one step on the way to trying to achieve something that I do not support : Abortion on demand in Ireland.

author by Gaz B -(A)- - wsm (personal capacity)publication date Sun Aug 03, 2008 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also have no support to offer for spouters of crumby phrases such as "reproductive freedom".
The decision whether or not to remain pregnant should be decided women themselves rather than by the state or "our society". Reproductive freedom isn't a "crumby phrase" or "buzz word", its denial is a reality for thousands of Irish women who are forced into travelling abroad to avail an abortion.

The idea that closing your eyes causes the problem to cease to exist is something that most children grow out of at an early age. Unfortunately, it contiunes to be policy in regards to the provision of free, safe and legal abortion within the confines of this state.

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie/story/1786
author by Melpublication date Sun Aug 03, 2008 16:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You wont get any good out of going with either one or the other extreme.
The way I see it is that too much reproductive freedom is accorded to people who never grow out of being a child and we end up with "young women" who are either contracting STIs or worse contracting preganacies thet then requiring emergency abortitive treatment. We need a lot more sex education and free contraceptives before we hand over the reigns of our society to a gang of militant feminists who are manipulating society with the mnisuse of trendy phrases. If the Pro-abortionists are interested in young womens rights then they should busy themselves with Human Rights such as freedom in education to learn and appreciate how their reproductive system works and the self confidence not to be seeking acceptance through casual sex. Then after infrastructure to deal with the cause of unwanted pregnancies has been thoroughly instigated then we should look at the extent we have to address the need to deal with the effect through safe and legal abortion.
You say Free ? For many, perhaps, but certainly not for people who can afford to got out and drink their way through 60 quids worth of alco-pops 4 nights a week. then find out that somehow they need an abortion.

author by Gaz B -(A) - wsm (pers cap)publication date Sun Aug 03, 2008 19:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You say Free ? For many, perhaps, but certainly not for people who can afford to got out and drink their way through 60 quids worth of alco-pops 4 nights a week. then find out that somehow they need an abortion

This view, and others by Mel, belong to a set of anti-woman conservative moral values that views women who wish to have an abortion as being morally inferior alcoholic sluts, thus contributing to the stigmatisation of those who choose to have abortions.

As stated in Choice Irelands founding documents, and repeated here, Choice Ireland are in favour of comprehensive sex education programmes and free access to multiple forms of contraception.The claims that Choice Ireland and other pro-choice campaigners are "pro-abortionists" who neglect issues such as contraception, education and increased services for those who wish to have children, is a straw man argument designed to divert the direction away from the real issues.

author by Melpublication date Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are making false claims about what I said , and that is the definition of a strawman argument,

Their is no claim made here by me or anyone else as far as I can tell that Choice Ireland neglect issues such as contraception, education and increased services for those who wish to have children. I have read the statement of principles posted above by Helen, and have already congratulated the protest at the WRC on the basis that medical clinics should of course be regulated. The fact that you dont like the use of a term such as pro-abortion is not surprising to me but it is of course accurate in describing an organisaiton that supports free and legal abortion on demand. There is no controversy in that for me or anyone who says what they mean.

Your claim that my view belongs to a set of anti-woman conservative moral values that views women who wish to have an abortion as being morally inferior alcoholic sluts is also completely fabricated by you to suit your fundamentalist feminist agenda.

To deny that excess money and alcohol abuse by young people is not a contributory factor in unwanted preganancies is sticking your head in the sand. .Under no circumstances should anybody be fooled into thinking that the state should be providing free abortions on demand to all women who find that they need an abortion.I would support the introduction of regulated prescribed abortion in Ireland at a time only after all other issues that hold sway in the equation that leads to such a result as an abortion have been addressed by the government. At that time I believe that people wishing to abuse their bodies and subsquently need to abort pregnancies will find it an expensive option that should be avoided at all costs. This is not necessarily a moral question but it certainly is a quesiton of taking personal responsibility for your actions and peanlties for those who ultimately refuse to do so.
In short I support the work of organisations like Choice Ireland as a stepping stone in introducing changes that might one day bring about an infrastructure that will negate the claim that we need abortion on demand in Ireland.

author by Gazpublication date Mon Aug 04, 2008 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You claim that pro-choice campaigners are pro-abortion. It is irrational to claim that people who also campaign for increased levels of childcare and support for single and low-income parents are pro-abortion. The essence pro-choice campaigns is that they push for an increase in access to all options available. Pro-choice is abortion-neutral, it respects peoples ability to decide forthemselves what they want to do. It is irrational to label those who simultaneously campaign for services for women who chose to remain pregnant as pro-abortion. It's a case of political framing to misrepresent peoples views.

"Your claim that my view belongs to a set of anti-woman conservative moral values that views women who wish to have an abortion as being morally inferior alcoholic sluts is also completely fabricated by you to suit your fundamentalist feminist agenda...shortly followed by "I believe that people wishing to abuse their bodies and subsquently need to abort pregnancies will find it an expensive option that should be avoided at all costs."

You have also previously stated that free, safe and legal abortion should not be available to women who "can afford to got out and drink their way through 60 quids worth of alco-pops 4 nights a week. . then find out that somehow they need an abortion"
Conservative moral judgements about lifestyle choices shouldn't be a determinant in access to free, safe and legal abortion. Access to abortion is a health and rights issue and should be equally available to all women regardless of how many aclo-pops they consume.

author by Melpublication date Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not realistic Gaz, In a country where we have old folks dying on trollies in hospital waiting rooms or waiting for operations they will never get for the lack of resources in the Health Care Sector. Hard working people walking around with their teeth falling out of their heads for want of affordable Dental care. People being turfed out of their houses as our mismanaged economy staggers on like a drunken hobo into the fiscal unknown and kids beggin on the streets for money to eat, you demand free endless abortions for anyone who wants one.

Fundamentalism is never realistic. For all the wrong reasons you will never get free abortion on demand in Ireland. You would be better off dropping the extremist demands which will only alienate the logical minded people of the state who have no support for free abortion on demand but who realistically accept that some form of carefully presribed abortion is a necessary end resort for responsible women making tough life decisions. Such a course of action should be considered after all proper infrastrucutral changes have been implemented in order to minimise the need for such a service.

Once again , Congrats on the campaign to have medical clinics regulated. Thats a relaistic and responsible aim to have.

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