This is a collection of some of my better pictures from the pro-choice counter demonstration at the Dail against the Youth Defence billboards which were aimed at shaming women who had abortions. This demonstration was organised through a facebook page 'Unlike Youth Defence, I trust women to decide their lives for themselves' and saw as many as 350 people turning out to protest at short notice.
Saturday's (July 5th) Youth Defense march in Belfast saw a WSM member arrested for protesting the presence of Michael Quinn, the fascist who told the Sunday World that he would "he would have "no problem" with an Anders Breivik style-massacre" in Ireland. When Quinn was pointed out to stewards on the so called 'Rally for Life' they protected him and allowed him to continue on the march. On Sunday Youth Defence deleted posts of the picture of Quinn on the demonstration from their Facebook page and banned people who posted the picture or demanded to know why they had allowed Quinn to march.
A video being circulated on the internet shows Youth Defense anti-choice posters being sprayed with paint. Over the last month more and more billboards from the anti-women anti-choice organisation Youth Defense have been appearing all over Dublin. It appears they have spent hundreds of thousands of euro in their latest campaign targeting women who have had abortions. In the last days we have seen or been sent photos of their posters that have been altered all over the city and just now we received notification of the video below which shows several of these sites being covered with paint or torn down.
20 years ago this month details emerged of the X-case, when the Irish state injuncted a pregnant 14 year old who had been raped to prevent her traveling of England for an abortion. The x-case was the culmination of a decade of fundamentalist anti-choice hysteria that had flowed from the 1983 referendum designed to make it impossible to ever legalize abortion again in Ireland.
(Pic: Press launch - taken by RAG)
Saturday 18th December saw activists from a number of pro-choice organizations including the WSM rally at the GPO in Dublin to mark the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the ABC case. The short rally which took place in the bitter cold had been called at just over 24 hours notice by the Feminist Open Forum but still attracted a few dozen activists who have been involved in campaigning against Ireland's ban on abortion in the last decades.
Thursday 16th December saw the European Courts of Human Rights finally announce its judgements on a very important pro-choice case taken to the court by 3 women supported by the IFPA. The WSM has been consistently involved in pro-choice struggles in the three decades of its existence and on Thursday as part of that involvement we were trying to provide coverage, analysis and background as the stories broke on WSM.IE.
Through a 'Freedom of information' request the pro-choice campaigning group Choice Ireland have revealed that over a thousand desperate women were denied an abortion last year because customs seized the medicine that they had ordered over the internet. In many cases these women were unable to travel to Britain because of poverty or because they were immigrants who felt unable to risk leaving Ireland lest they be refused readmission.
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.
I've recovered some more of the first audio I recorded back in 2006/7. These consist of two pro-Choice audio's recorded at protests in Dublin and several Rossport ones. The pro-choice ones are a picket of a rogue pregnancy advice agency and a solidarity rally with 'D' who had been injuncted to prevent her traveling to England for an abortion. There are also 7 audio's related to the Rossport struggle, mostly done by Skype and mobile phone with people on the ground in Erris during protests.
I spent Saturday evening at Semora Spraoi where RAG were screening two abortion rights documentaries, 'The Coat Hanger Project' and 'Abortion Democracy : Poland/South Africa'. The makers of both documentaries were present so the screenings were introduced by them and there was a wide ranging discussion after the films had been show. I've included a link to an audio recording of the introductions at the end of this piece.