Statement on Closure of Ulster Pregnancy Advisory Association

The report that the Ulster Pregnancy Advisory Association [UPAA] has been forced to close due to the actions of a small number of anti-women thugs should be of concern to progressive people and organisations.

'Precious Life' claim to be an affiliate of Youth Defence, in fact they are the Northern Branch of Youth Defence. The activities of Youth Defence have become familiar in the South in the past few years. This is the organisation which has harassed staff and invaded family planning clinics, physically attacked elderly doctors, etc. While YD were doing their 'Roadshow' throughout Ireland in July they picketted all IFPA clinics in towns where 'street information sessions' were being held. Now Ms Bernadette Smyth of 'Precious Life', as reported in the Irish Times, has described the break in and arson attack on the UPAA was a 'great victory for direct action'.

It is quite clear that this section of the anti-choice movement has adopted the tactics of US groups. In America the extremist groups have realised that they are not going re-ban abortion or win their case through lobbying politicians - so they have adopted a strategy of making abortion, and other womens health care services, unavailable through intimidation of staff and/or terrorism against service providers. There are US anti-choice manuals explaining how conduct these campaigns and Youth Defence/Precious Life have been following them to the letter.

It is time that progressive individuals and organisations, both North and South, took a stand against such reactionary groups.

Dublin Abortion Rights Group

Part of the pages of the Dublin Abortion Rights Group