Abortion in the Republic of Ireland is illegal unless it’s necessary to save the life of the mother. Because of that, most women have to travel to the United Kingdom if they want an abortion. The Women’s Centre, a pregnancy counselling center in Dublin, Ireland, claims to offer impartial advice to women thinking of making the journey.
But The Times recently discovered that the center is not regulated by Irish law and has also linked them to the Good Counsel Network, a Catholic anti-abortion group that has compared abortion to terrorism.
The Times decided to send an undercover reporter to find out what the center has been telling women. And it ranges from claims that abortion causes cancer to child neglect.
Just to summarise those claims:
“A baby in the womb feels pain considerably more than we would due to the sensitivity of the developing nervous system.”
“You go from being pregnant to unpregnant so rapidly that your cells can become damaged. There will be a breast cancer risk.”
“[Women who have had abortions] have been known to neglect their children, or overprotect them, it’s a psychological thing. Like a bereavement.”
The Times also claims that the undercover reporter was told that death was the first side-effect of terminating a pregnancy, and was shown pictures of aborted foetuses at eight and 20 weeks old.
So, is there any truth to those claims? The head of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Ireland, Dr. Peter Boylan, says they’re “outrageous.” “That is just not true at all,” he said of the cancer claim. “That would mean that any woman who experienced a stillbirth or whose baby died in the womb would be at an increased risk of breast cancer too.” He went on to explain that the majority of women who have abortions experience no complications. He added that there was no evidence they would go on to abuse children.
Ireland’s Health minister Simon Harris said he was “sickened,” by the claims. He’s called for an investigation into the service and is considering introducing regulatory measures for pregnancy counselling services.