Youth Defence on Facebook

Last week a friend on Facebook was complaining that she was getting Youth Defence ads.  Youth Defence are a virulently anti-choice organisation in Ireland, probably comparable to the likes of Operation Rescue in North America.  Anyway I was curious and asked her to do a screen capture if it re-appeared which it did.  I then realised this was a parallel campaign to the one they were running in the newspapers and that it all related to the ABC case in the European courts so I wrote up the article below for the WSM site to put it into context.

Facebook advertising can be highly targetted.  You can literally say you only want an ad to appear to single women, between 18 and 35, living near Dublin who have the word feminist in their profile. As you set each of these options FB tells you how many people are in that target group. I experimented with ads for the Dublin anarchist bookfair and in doing so found there were something like 650,000 FB users within 50km of Dublin and I think 400 of them had anarchist or anarchism in their profile.  It works out as expensive enough, the bookfair ad would have cost about 40c per click through, as it was without the ad campaigns our Bookfair Facebook page attracted 1100 people which would have cost a minimum of 440 if obtained through advertising rather than the invite and seeing it on friends feeds method.

There is something quite odd in seeing a 'back to the stone age' organisation like YD on Facebook although from looking at their page they do seem to have some idea of how to use it for promotion.  A few basic mistakes too but sure I'll keep them to myself on this public blog.  That campaign is even battier then the article itself suggests, square these contradictions if you can,
2. There is absolutely NO medical necessity for abortion – there are NO medical conditions which are cured by abortion
4. If ANY medical condition arises during pregnancy, such as cancer or ectopic pregnancy, doctors in Ireland will ALWAYS treat the mother even if that gives rise to the unintentional death of their baby. 

Right that's clear then, there are no medical conditions 'cured by abortion' but there are ones cured by the 'unintentional death' of the foetus?  You can sort of see why they felt the need to break those two up with a irrelevent point about Ireiand being a safe place to have a baby!

There is an expression dating from I think the late 70's of 'An Irish solution to an Irish problem', coined I think to positively describe such delibretly confusionist language.  A quick look at Wikipedia gives some earlier examples but the one I was thinking of was Charles Haughey's use of it as Minister for Health introducing the 1979 family planning act which made contracepetives legal but only on perscription "for the purpose, bona fide, of family planning or for adequate medical reasons."  As opposed presumably to using condoms as ballons or water bombs.

Youth Defence panic as ABC case result expected from European courts

The anti-woman, anti-choice group Youth Defence have launched a new advertising campaign which includes targetted Facebook ads ahead of the anticipated ABC decision in the European courts.  In this case three women, known as A, B and C, are challenging Ireland’s ban on abortion in the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that the law jeopardised their health and their well being and that travelling abroad for an abortion placed "enormous physical, emotional and financial burdens" upon them. Because the law created delays and hardships for each woman, it resulted in each of them having a later abortion, creating a greater risk to their health. 

All three women were forced to travel to Britain for an abortion because abortion is unavailable in Ireland in almost all circumstances.  One of the three had been warned she ran the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. The second had undergone chemotherapy for cancer treatment and was unable to find a doctor willing to tell her if her life would be at risk if she continued to term or how the treatment might have effected the fetus.  The third woman was an unemployed alcoholic living in poverty whose four children had been placed in foster care.

Youth Defence’s cynical Facebook ad shows a dark picture of a pained women with the slogan 'My baby’s death was not an abortion.' According to Choice Ireland the newspaper ads attempt to distinguish between abortions and “necessary medical  procedures” that result in termination of pregnancies. The adverts claim that where a woman is treated for a condition such as ectopic pregnancy or pre-eclampsia and her foetus dies, this is not an abortion.

Sinéad Ahern of Choice Ireland said, “Having lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the Irish people, who overwhelmingly reject their opposition to abortion under any circumstances, Youth Defence are now trying to start a war with the English language. Their attempts to redefine ‘abortion’ to exclude those procedures which the Supreme Court has ruled are permitted under the 8th amendment puts them at odds with standard medical terminology – which defines abortion simply as the loss of a pregnancy – and even with many of their colleagues in the anti-abortion movement, who distinguish between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ abortions.

“The ad goes on to claim that such procedures can be freely carried out in Ireland. However, in its testimony to the European Court of Human Rights in the ABC case, the Irish government could provide no evidence that any had taken place within the state. In its recent investigation into the effects of Irish abortion law, Human Rights Watch were also unable to document a single case. A number of doctors and women, including two of the plaintiffs in the ABC case, have confirmed that some pregnant women are being denied needed medical treatment because of the uncertainty in the law.”

“The timing of this ad, so close to the anticipated ABC decision, is no coincidence. It is clearly a pre-emptive strike against a ruling that Youth Defence expect to go against them. That they felt the need to take such a step demonstrates the strength of the case the three women have made against the Irish state.”

“Just as abortion cannot be legislated away, neither can its realities be erased through semantic games of the kind Youth Defence are playing. Whether they choose to call it ‘indirect abortion’, ‘necessary medical procedures’ or something else entirely, the facts are that there are times when a pregnancy must be terminated to save a woman’s life and that the lack of legislation in this area has a chilling effect on doctors and potentially tragic consequences for women. Choice Ireland again call for legislation for the X case as a first step toward safeguarding women’s lives and reproductive rights.”



Interesting article - thanks!

Interesting article - thanks!

ABC is fait accompli

ABC is fait accompli


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