Limerick: Abortion demos clash at clinic

Limerick Socialist Youth, Press Release

Gardai were called in to guard the entrance to the Family Planning Clinic on Mallow Street on Monday when pro-life protesters picketed it. The pro-life group, Youth Defence, was also met by a group of young people who attempted to counter them.

A counter demonstration was organized by members of Socialist Youth at short notice. They aimed to “protect the clinic ,and any women going in, from intimidation” according to Cian Prendiville, spokesperson for Socialist Youth, recalling an incident in Dublin in 1999 when a clinic was “stormed” and “occupied” for a couple of hours.

Yesterday’s protest was the Limerick stop-off on Youth Defence’s national tour. They were demanding that women no longer be permitted to travel to England for abortions. Asked why they chose to target the clinic instead of the main streets of Limerick they claimed to know of cases where women had gone to England to get an abortion after attending the clinic.

The flyer they distributed states: “there is never any medical need for an abortion. Women are being exploited by the abortion industry for profit”.

In response Mr. Prendiville from Socialist Youth said: “That is nonsense. There are very real social, economic and health reasons why sometimes women in crisis pregnancies want to have abortions, for instance in the recent Miss D case.”

There were also allegations that one of the members of Youth Defence threatened to stab a counter-protester. The counter-protestor is considering making an official police complaint.

Mr Prendiville went on to say “The real issue is whether women should have to travel away from their friends and family to have an abortion or not. There needs to be free contraception and proper sex education, but we should support the decisions of women in crisis pregnancies too.”

Pictures from the counter-demo can be seen here.

Socialist Youth will be discussing these issues and others at an upcoming forum for young people titled “RESISTANCE” on the 21st of July upstairs in Riddlers Bar on Sarsfield street, Limerick City. A similar event will also be taking place in Dublin on the same date – Click here for full details of both.

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