This is a mind-boggling sequence of events that further illustrates how the public debate surrounding the upcoming Citizens Assembly and (hopefully) subsequent #RepealThe8th referendum will transpire.
First up we have the undercover work done by the Irish edition of the London Times where they visited the so-called “Women’s Clinic” on Berkeley St not far from the Mater Hospital in Dublin. As the Times is a pay-newspaper, we link instead to the Indo article titled “Secret recordings reveal Dublin pregnancy centre advising women that abortion leads to breast cancer“.
While attending the clinic undercover, the reporter’s mental state was called into question by the counsellor. The reporter was shown also pictures of aborted foetuses and asked if she thought it was fair on the foetus to have an abortion.
Then we have just over half an hour on Joe Duffy’s Liveline show that has to be heard to be believed. In it the director of the clinic, a Patrick Jameson, was afforded the opportunity to present his side of the story.
For the duration of the segment he repeatedly talks over Joe as well as everyone else who dared to come on to speak. H referred to a website abortionbreastcancer.com at least half a dozen times, one which is clearly maintained by a Pro-Life group based in the USA and he goes on to reject anything said by the media (because according to him all members of the NUJ are instructed to be Pro-Choice) and the vast majority of peer-reviewed medical research (because according to him the American Cancer Society is a “corrupt” organization).
To be fair to Joe, he gave the man plenty of time to air his side of the story, such as it was. Basically for half an hour you hear the terms “abortion” and “breast cancer” used several times in close proximity to each other. If nothing else it would almost have you believing there was a link. There’s a decent account of the exchange in this article on The Journal.
When challenged on the issue, he told Duffy: “You can’t handle the truth”. People in Ireland are “being deceived because of the media spin”, he claimed.
One thing the Journal doesn’t touch on, however, is that towards the end of the segment Duffy asks Jameson if he has heard of a gentleman called Eamonn Murphy. Jameson doesn’t even acknowledge that he has been asked the question.
In a follow-up segment the next day, Duffy has a few callers on who seem to think that Jameson himself was actually this Eamonn Murphy, who ran in national and European Elections for organizations that appear to have had numerous guises such as the “Christian Centrist Party”.
Finally, to the reaction of staunch so-called Pro-Life advocate Breda O’Brien, she who loves to bemoan the lack of media coverage from her movement despite her regular columns in the Irish Times.
Yesterday in her piece “The amazing hypocrisy of the pro-abortion lobby“, while rejecting the ludicrous claims of this clinic, she also does an excellent job exaggerating the media response to them while then undervaluing their reaction to reports that medical advice was being given to patients to avail of an “abortion pill” as well as lying to their doctors about having had an abortion.
A couple of years ago, Gemma O’Doherty, one of Ireland’s most courageous and tenacious journalists, broke a story about allegations that Irish Family Planning Association crisis pregnancy counsellors were advising clients to break the law. She heard and viewed tapes of counsellors (procured in a sting operation) advising people how to import the so-called abortion pill via NorthernIreland. The IFPA did not question the veracity of the tapes.
Those pieces of advice amount to “breaking the law” according to O’Brien. While technically true, it hardly qualifies as a counter argument against blatantly deliberate misinformation being given at a premises purporting to be a “clinic”. And what’s more, patients are being advised to lie about their terminations because of the fear of being prosecuted under laws which are currently being challenged by a significant movement among citizens known as #RepealThe8th.
We need a referendum now. We’re not going to get it now. Instead we’re going to get a “Citizens Assembly” to decide whether or not we can have a referendum. The composition of this assembly needs to be put under the closest scrutiny possible.
This is going to be a long, difficult road, with a small, curiously-well-funded minority blocking the path.