Women’s Centre Hits Back After Protest

A Dublin centre offering crisis pregnancy advice has hit back at claims that it is intentionally misleading women in an effort to prevent them from considering having abortions in the UK.

A group of concerned pro-choice campaigners recently organised a protest outside the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) on Dorset Street on International Women’s Day to highlight what they claimed were “misleading” practices at the centre.

However, a spokesman for the resource centre, which also operates under the name ‘A Choice For Women’, told Northside People that it is simply trying to prevent certain organisations from profiting from abortion in the UK.

Patrick Jameson, public relations officer for the WRC, said women have a right to know and be protected from what he called “British abortion profiteers”.

Mr Jameson claimed that some agencies didn’t give women the full facts on the potential dangers and side effects of abortion.
However, the local pro-choice group that organised the protest outside the WRC has accused the centre of giving women misleading and distorted information about pregnancy and abortion services.

Mary O’Flynn, a local woman who helped organise the protest, said she attended A Choice For Women at the WRC and was distressed and shocked by the service and information she received.

Ms O’Flynn was not pregnant when she attended the centre. “They aim to prevent women from travelling for abortion services by giving deliberate misinformation,” Ms O’Flynn claimed. Ms O’Flynn said she was told at the WRC that the service it provides is impartial, but she became suspicious of its intentions after the information she was given.

Ms O’Flynn said the protest outside the WRC was necessary, given the fact that the discussion of abortion still remains taboo in Ireland. “Where many women are isolated and afraid to seek the advice of family, friends and partners, pregnancy agencies offer a vital service,” Ms O’Flynn added.

However, Mr Jameson countered that women attending the WRC have a right to be protected from those who pressure them into abortions by presenting a child as a threat. He said A Choice For Women informs women in crisis pregnancies of the full legalities surrounding abortion in both Britain and Ireland.

“We do not, however, have any association with clinics which carry out, or profit from, the practice of abortion in Britain,” Mr Jameson stated. As regards the possible effects of abortion, women have a right to know and be protected from British abortion profiteers.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Family Planning Association is calling on the Government to bring forward statutory regulation for all pregnancy advice and counseling services, to ensure that they do not impart misleading and incorrect advice.

Under the regulation of Information Act (1995), non-directive State funded agencies may only provide services on a face-to-face basis and there is an obligation on them to provide information on all options.

Rosie Toner, director of the Pregnancy Counselling service of the IFPA, said: “At the IFPA we give women information on all available options and then leave it up to them to make up their own mind on what course of action they want to take and we then offer counselling accordingly. However, pregnancy advice and counseling services which are not State funded are currently not restricted in any way and this is a major problem.”