Youth Defence Campaign Triggering Anti Abortion Ads

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Rallying against the possible legalisation of abortion in Ireland, a Youth Defence campaign is putting up triggering and misleading anti-abortion ads in public places.

Of all the tragedies in the world, few things will move the hearts of the people more than the loss of a child.

1 in 3 women will suffer a miscarriage at some point in their lives, according to recent statistics. Some won’t even know that they ever held a life inside of them. Others will face the devastation of losing a child mere days before their due date.

A friend of mine and her long-time boyfriend started trying, several years back. I don’t speak to her often – maybe every few months – but for about five years in a row, every time I spoke to her, she’d lost another baby through miscarriage.

It was heartbreaking, but it only got worse. Eventually, she successfully conceived and kept the baby beyond 12 weeks, when she had her first scan. They discovered that the child was extremely, terribly sick. Doomed before it was even fully formed, the poor thing had less than a 6% chance of surviving labour. The mother had less than 20% chance of surviving labour. So she made the hardest decision of her life, and had a life-saving abortion. She has stopped trying and still has no children.

Another of my friends is LGBT, with all sorts of reproductive malfunctions and health issues. All her life, she has wanted children, but she was told when she was barely fifteen that she would never conceive. It’s been a battle for her, but she’s incredibly positive and taken a truly inspirational path, and has decided to go back to college and study midwifery.

I remember thinking about all of this when I discovered that I was pregnant. I was twenty, and it was three days before my boyfriend’s 19th birthday. It was all so unlikely – I was always careful, on the pill and used condoms – and I had just broken up with said boyfriend four weeks before, and come out as LGBT! Worst timing ever, right? Well, maybe.

After I told him, we spent three surreal days together in my apartment, panicking and trying to come to terms with it all. We spoke at length about what we’d do. For some reason, I spent the first few days in calm denial and convinced myself that I’d miscarry. I suppose this is because I actually had a very secret miscarriage when I was in my teens. It was one of the most heart-shattering, nerve-wreaking, horrible things I’ve ever gone through, but to this day I think it was the best outcome, even if, years later, I still say it with a pang.

Honestly, looking back at it all, I am still surprised by our separate reactions. I immediately said no to adoption (I have several friends who were adopted, and not all of them have happy stories.) My boyfriend said no to abortion before I did, and after some thought I agreed. In the end, we just felt it wasn’t the right choice for us, and we made our own personal situation work as best as we could.

So nearly seventeen months and one blessedly happy, healthy, beautiful baby boy later, I was quite happily on my way home on public transport, chatting with a friend, when I saw this.

My heart nearly stopped. Then it exploded. All I could think of were my friends, and all the other women and men affected like them, and how mortified they’d be if they saw that. I was disgusted and nearly ripped it down. I didn’t though, and I’m glad – I’m not some rage-driven delinquent. I’m merely a disgusted pro-choicer who believes in balance and who strongly feels that heavily triggering material like this should NEVER be displayed in prominent public areas.

This is why:

It’s horrifically insensitive to the many women and men who have experienced the loss of a child, especially through abortion – this is effectively shaming and blaming. After facing that sort of trauma, people need support and understanding, not public humiliation. Making these women face up to their tragedies all over again, especially in such an unexpected and open place, is cruel and cold-hearted.

Concerns over the Youth Defence Campaign

This Youth Defence campaign is providing misleading information to an extremely vulnerable group of people. Have they not considered that maybe a pregnant teenager is already going to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown from the pressure of it all? Don’t they know that, regardless of circumstance, EVERY woman panics for a moment when she first discovers she’s pregnant? Have they not considered that maybe, just maybe, we’re competent enough to make these decisions, about our bodies and our children, for ourselves? I have seen some people who have the audacity to argue that this organisation is merely putting forth an opinion – oh really? Faith-led control freaks forcing insensitive, made up, and dangerously misleading twaddle down the throats of some of the nation’s most vulnerable people is never, ever a viable opinion.

I believe that this campaign is about power, self-righteousness, and obliterating the supposed enemy’s opinions and rights.

And this is what really gets me. This campaign is running in Ireland, where, in the year 2012, abortion is still illegal. We currently don’t even have the right to see it as a viable option in the event of crisis pregnancy!

This campaign is rallying against the possible legalisation of abortion. It’s completely unnecessary, and it’s just a slap in all pro-choicers’ faces. And what makes it worse is that somehow, they’ve managed to get legal protection for the campaign. These posters aren’t going to be removed by the law, but you can still make complaints to the advertising companies involved at info AT

Rancidly run organisation aside, I am deeply concerned about the effect this is going to have on some people. What if a young woman sees this ad after just having an abortion, and losing not just her child, but maybe her partner and possibly even her family too? Abortion and loss is a common and deeply triggering subject for many people. What’s to stop any of them suddenly being unable to cope anymore? What if they were barely holding up already? This is the last thing any of us needs.

I truly couldn’t give a f*ck about the politics and red tape involved. I’m just concerned for the welfare of thousands of women who, like me and many of my friends, who are going to have to face their deepest woes, over and over again, until these posters eventually get replaced.

If you want to speak out against Youth Defence’s shock-tactics and blatant disregard for the mental well-being of women, please sign the online petition.

Pro-Choice Activism against Youth Defence Campaign

If you want to sign the petition to remove Youth Defence pro life posters, click the link at the bottom of the article.