Group behind graphic maternity hospital abortion posters vows to step-up campaign

The posters have been condemned by both sides in the Eighth Amendment debate

Group behind graphic maternity hospital abortion posters vows to step-up campaign

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The group responsible for placing graphic anti-abortion posters outside Irish maternity hospitals has threatened to step up its campaign.

The billboards have been displayed outside the Rotunda, Coombe and Holles Street hospitals in Dublin in recent days.

The decision to place the posters outside maternity hospitals has sparked widespread anger – with hospitals warning that it is ‘totally inappropriate’ for women who are attending hospital ‘at times under distressing circumstances’ to be forced to walk past the graphic displays.

The group behind the campaign is the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR), based in Tipperary and linked to the US organisation the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, ICBR director Jean Engela, who trained as a doctor in Ireland, said the seven-foot posters are as big as possible to have the greatest impact.

He acknowledged that the campaign is 'imperfect' but insisted the street is the only public forum left for what it calls 'abortion victim photography.'

“If people have already seen the reality of what their pregnancy looks like at the earliest stages of gestation, why does seeing it make them upset?” he asked.

“Unless of course, they did not know that is what their pregnancy looked like.

“We need to find out what venues our opposition is most indignant about and realise that is where we are being most effective – and do more of it not less.”

He said the campaign was targeting hospitals because hospitals are not willing on campus.

“It is an imperfect forum we acknowledge that,” he said. “But it is the only forum left to us – the public sidewalk.” 

The Rotunda Hospital said the posters had caused “upset and distress” for patients who were attending hospital for a widespread range of maternity needs. 

The posters have also been condemned by campaigners on both sides of the debate, with Save the 8th spokesperson John McGuirk noting yesterday that they are “not affiliated with our campaign, they are not affiliated with the other major pro-life campaigns."

He added: "These are people who in many cases are not Irish."