‘Repulsive, spineless, unacceptable’: Ireland announces crackdown on pro-life pregnancy centers

Legislators are pursuing a bill to restrict information given to pregnant women in Ireland.
Tue Nov 22, 2016 - 12:21 pm EST
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Irish health minister Simon Harris

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Irish politicians are clamping down on pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in the country.

Irish health minister Simon Harris announced a critical evaluation of Irish law regarding what is communicated about abortion. Harris' action was in response to The Irish Times' report that at one crisis pregnancy center a staffer informed a pregnant woman that abortion increases her risk of developing breast cancer.

Harris called the crisis pregnancy center's advice “repulsive, spineless, unacceptable to any right thinking person,” and concluded, “It should not and will not be tolerated.”

And yet scientific evidence is clearer than ever, proving that abortion is a real, powerful trigger for breast cancer.

Pro-life leaders are crying hypocrisy because they believe the real "dangerous information" is coming from the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), which is the Irish affiliate of Planned Parenthood. It receives millions in taxpayer funds, including money from George Soros-backed organizations, to politically campaign to change Irish law.

In 2012, IFPA staffers told women who experienced serious health complications from abortions to lie to their doctors and say instead that they had miscarried their child.

Mattie McGrath, an Independent Teachta Dala (TD), noted the hypocritical double standard between the health minister's investigation of pro-life counselors who state the facts of the abortion-breast cancer link ("ABC link") and his silence as pro-abortion counselors endanger women's health by instructing them to lie to their physicians.  

“Surely there is something amiss,” McGrath said, “when the Minister for Health sits back and does nothing when a state-funded body is found to be engaging in such reckless behavior.”

Cora Sherlock, the country's Pro Life Campaign deputy chairwoman, said politicians would certainly be “open to the charge of double standards if they don’t do what should have been done before, which is to ask the IFPA to provide an explanation for what happened in 2012.”

Meanwhile, Ireland's pro-abortion politicians are simultaneously pushing a bill to regulate crisis pregnancy counselors through the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament.

Labor leader Brendan Howlin brought a "Private Members Bill" called "The Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill 2016," which arguments in the legislature indicate is intended to restrict crisis pregnancy workers who are opposed to abortion.

McGrath questioned whether the bill's intent was to “silence services or advocates that do not support abortion as a solution to a crisis pregnancy.”

Niamh Uí Bhriain of Ireland's Life Institute told LifeSiteNews that the Labor Party, of which Howlin is leader, made the repeal of the right to life of preborn babies a priority.

“This bill purports to ensure women receive appropriate counseling, but their proposal also begs the question as to who will decide which advice is appropriate and honest," Bhriain explained in an email to LifeSiteNews. "Abortion campaigners deny the humanity of the baby, and the fact that abortion often hurts women."

Bernadette Smyth of Ireland’s Precious Life told LifeSiteNews, "It is very clear that this is an attack on pro-life charities, and the aim of this bill is to silence and stop crisis pregnancies counselors from informing abortion-vulnerable women of the numerous well-documented studies that demonstrate that abortion poses significant medical risks for women."

Smyth predicted, "If this outrageous bill is passed, it will force many crisis pregnancy centers to close their doors out of fear of prosecution,” which she said "will ultimately lead to more women going to greedy abortion providers."

Bhriain commented, "Mr. Howlin and his part have been utterly silent on the horrendous advice given to women by pro-abortion agencies. ... Will their blinkered views and distortion of the truth be subject to inquiry?”

McGrath expressed similar pro-life concern in the Dáil and was mocked by pro-abortion legislators.

Asked why supporters of the bill did not apply "the same exacting standards to the scandal of life-threatening advice that was offered to pregnant women by the Irish Family Planning Association in 2012," Ruth Coppinger called him "backward and sexist" and accused him of having "an inordinate interest in women’s bodies."

Bhriain blogged, "These attacks on Mattie McGrath, widely held to be decent and honorable family man who holds women in high regard, are designed to shut down any real debate around Howlin’s Bill."

Smyth concluded, "The pro-life movement in Ireland must fight this bill by lobbying their elected representatives with all the up-to-date facts and studies on how abortion harms women and destroys innocent unborn children."

An amendment was proposed by one of the Teachta Dála representing Tipperary to ensure no pregnancy counseling agencies can also be involved in political campaigning, even though the IFPA engages in such activity.

“The fact that groups like the IFPA are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to campaign for repeal of the 8th Amendment from people like George Soros is an outrage,” he said.

Abortion is against the law in Ireland unless the pregnancy endangers the health of the woman. However, "health" includes mental health, so some women share thoughts of suicide to procure an abortion. Most women seeking an abortion go to England, and IFPA employees provide information about where to go to terminate a pregnancy.

According to the IFPA, 3,451 mothers living in Ireland traveled to the UK in 2015 for an abortion.


  bernadette smyth, ireland, irish family planning association, niamh ui bhriain, pregnancy counseling centers, pro life campaign, simon harris, teachta dala

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