While abortion is illegal in Ireland, except for in circumstances in which there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother, there is the constant threat of abortion laws become less and less restrictive. Therefore, pro-life groups work overtime to ensure that this doesn’t happen, using large campaigns and holding rallies to remind everyone what abortion really is. Meanwhile, the pro-abortion group Choice Ireland is attacking a new ad campaign, created by the pro-life groups Life Institute and Youth Defence, which depicts abortion as an act that tears lives apart. Choice Ireland is claiming that the ads misrepresent Life Institute’s mission, and that the billboards are offensive to women. Choice Ireland spokesperson Stephanie Lord says on the group’s website:
Choice Ireland have received a number of angry and offended emails about these billboards, which proclaim that abortion tears a woman’s life apart. Some of the emails are from women who have had abortions themselves and who object to the message the billboards convey. These billboards do not speak for them (…)If (Life Institute’s) concern for women was genuine they would not spend the large costs of these billboards on trying to make women feel bad about the choices they have made.
But Life Institute isn’t out to make women who have had abortions feel guilty; they’re out to stop other women from having abortions in the first place. The ads simply state that there are better options than abortion and that abortion destroys not only the life of the child, but that of the mother as well. The idea for the advertising campaign, which includes 600 billboards, and ads on Facebook and YouTube, was actually sparked by a conversation with a real-life woman who had an abortion. As reported at TheLifeInstitute.net, Niamh Uí Bhriain of Life Institute says:
Last year I had a very moving conversation with an Irish woman who underwent an abortion while living in Britain years before. She told me that she felt her life was torn apart by the abortion, and that her baby’s life was torn apart as well. I thought it was a powerful description of the reality of abortion, which is all too often glossed over in the debate on the issue.
And she’s right. Abortion literally tears a child apart, and that’s what many pro-life groups focus on. However, there is great debate on the long-term emotional side effects of abortion on women. Pro-abortion groups would have us all believe that women simply walk away from abortions feeling mostly relieved. However, numerous studies have shown that abortion causes depression, guilt, stress, emotional deadening, rage, and difficulty maintaining relationships. Known as post-abortion syndrome, these psychological effects are real and lifelong, and Life Institute’s new ad campaign exposes that. Choice Ireland’s outrage is more about the fact that they want to keep this information hidden than it is about their concern that women may be offended.
In Ireland’s fight to keep abortion illegal, campaigns like this are as necessary as they are in the U.S., where abortion is legal at any time for any reason. As Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence explains in the Life Institute post regarding the billboards:
This campaign also aims to wake up the pro-life majority and urge them to make their voice heard before abortion is legalised by a wealthy and powerful elite who want, at all costs, to avoid consulting the people. The Irish people know that we can do better for mothers and babies than the medieval solution of abortion. The UN has shown that Ireland, without abortion, is the safest place in the world for a mother to have a baby. Let’s keep it that way.