US anti-abortion activists tell Irish women that abortion will be rape-like

The target of their campaigns -- couples who have been told their fetus has a fatal abnormality.

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
US anti-abortion activists tell Irish women that abortion will be rape-like - NewsMavens
Anti-abortion activists in UK, YouTube

Why this story matters:

American anti-abortion organizations have been descending on Ireland following the country's legalization of the procedure in January. The Sidewalk Advocates for life (SAFL) have been using American examples and training and applying it to an Irish context with the opening of Gianna Care -- a Dublin based anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center.

The target of their campaigns -- couples who have been told their fetus has a fatal abnormality. The organization is reportedly training their members to wait in car parks for these couples and then convince them not to proceed with the abortion.

Training videos suggest that victims often lie and say they have been raped to avoid the protesters. The group recommends that activists tell those seeking an abortion that the procedure can be “rape like” and that abortion will not “unrape them”; citing these as effective methods of deterrence.

The group’s spokesperson has denied claims that they hope to have sidewalk activists at every abortion facility in the country. This is in direct opposition to claims from the SAFL program manager, Bethany Mistressa, who suggested it was their goal.

Details from the story:

  • The American activists plan to target women attempting to access terminations at their GP or hospital.
  • The focus of their campaigning is couples that have been told their child has a fatal abnormality.
  • Gianna Care, based in Dublin, was the first agency created in Europe by the SAFL and was later ousted for its distribution of misleading information.
  • Members of the Dublin branch receive video instructions and examples from the group’s active branches in the United States on how to conduct their “peaceful” operations.
  • Abortion was legalized in Ireland as of January 1, following a long fought and divisive campaign.
  • The government has indicated that they wish to create “exclusion zones” within the vicinity of clinics and hospitals, which would ban the presence of demonstrators.
  • SAFL has indicated there are ways around such a ban.
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