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Rogue Anti-Choice Agency, Dorset St. - A History of Lies and Deception

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Friday March 09, 2007 17:49author by Pro Choice Activist Report this post to the editors

This article exposes the long history of the "rogue" crisis pregnancy agency operating from Dorset St. in Dublin, together with their links to parties of the far religious right. Since they have been in existence, the agency has continuously changed their name and location to avoid detection.

The "Women's Resource Centre" on Dorset St.
The "Women's Resource Centre" on Dorset St.

This is the full story of a rogue crisis pregnancy agency which has been operating in Dublin city for over a decade. Despite numerous infringements of the law, the agency has never been shut down by the state, nor have laws been introduced to ensure the regulation of crisis pregnancy agencies that purport to be pro-choice but are in reality, the complete opposite.

Recently, a campaign has been set up which aims to target this agency and get it closed down – and this time, for good. We hope you will read this article and that afterwards you will consider becoming involved in this campaign and the broad movement for reproductive rights in Ireland. It is quite a long account so please bear with us – there are some very interesting things in it that we discovered along the way.

Throughout the article, you will notice that we generally refer to the clinic in question as “the agency”. This is because it has no permanent name; following incidents that generate bad publicity, it changes its trading name, shop front, and sometimes even its location. The agency has had to change its name many times but generally uses a name beginning with ‘A’ (A Choice for Women, Aadams, Alpha etc) so they appear first in the phonebook. You can find the current advertisement for the agency in the Family Planning section of the phonebook – it is the largest advertisement in the section and states that it provides “all options” to women in crisis pregnancy situations. It also claims to have offices in “London, Liverpool and Manchester”, obviously implying that they are linked to abortion clinics in the U.K. In addition to this, it says that they offer “post-abortion counselling”. The layout and format of the ad are almost identical to those of genuine crisis pregnancy agencies – but their one is by far the largest. However, the advertisement for the agency differs from most of the other family planning advertisements in that it has no address, only a telephone number.

From 1995 to 1999, the agency was known as the “Aadams” agency. According to their own estimation they saw 2000 women during this period. They were shut down due to a High Court ruling that they were running an illegal adoption agency. RTE covered the story at the time.

“The High Court has ruled that the founder of a pregnancy counselling service had unlawful custody of a baby during the summer. The baby had been born to a student who had sought help from the agency. The infant is now being cared for by foster parents with the Eastern Health Board.
In a 32-page ruling delivered over the weekend, Ms Justice Laffoy said that the agency founder had "singularly failed" to show that the 21-year-old mother's decision to give her baby to the man and his wife for adoption was a free decision. She said that they had acted in a totally inappropriate manner in relation to the young mother.
The pregnancy advice agency at the centre of the case is believed to have associations with the Irish anti-abortion movement”

(Full story - http://www.rte.ie/news/1999/0830/custody.html)

In addition to this, Miriam Donohue and Carol Coulter(Legal Affairs) were writing articles about the case in the Irish Times.. The links to these articles are here http://www.ireland.com/cgi-bin/dialogserver?DB=all&THRE...adams .

Unfortunately you have to subscribe to be able to read the Irish Times pieces; however, here are some select quotes about the practices of the Aadams Agency at the time.

“Women taking calls to the Aadam's advertised phone numbers offered appointments for pregnancy counselling at its address when contacted last Saturday and Sunday. Callers to these numbers are not told that the counsellors are anti-abortion. On Friday a call to a different number led to an appointment at the same address. Asked if "all the options" would be discussed, the woman who took the call said: "You wouldn't believe the number of people who are suing abortion clinics in England because they are not given the full facts. The counselling is based on all the facts."” – The Irish Times

This is an account of a first-hand experience of the ‘counselling service’ received by a 20 year old Dublin girl (quoted from The Irish Times)

"In the room upstairs there was a small table and two chairs, and a television and video in the corner. The carpet was scruffy. The man asked me to do a pregnancy test and I went to the bathroom down the hall, which was just as bad. He asked me had I been using any protection. He took out a dummy of a 10-week-old foetus and said this was what was inside me, and did I want to kill it. Then he put on the video and showed all the instruments and how they perform an abortion. It was awful. I'm still going through it. He gave me all these pictures and letters from people he said went to him and decided to have their babies. There were pictures of the babies. He gave me medals and prayers, and a poem meant to be from a foetus to its mother asking not to be killed. It was spooky."

In 1999, the agency then became known as the “Women’s Counselling Network”.
This is a quote from an article in the Irish Independent at the time,

“THE founders of a pregnancy counselling service, who were ruled to have unlawful custody of a baby earlier this year, are now involved in a similar advice agency in Dublin. A garda investigation is underway into the activities of the former Aadams Agency, which operated in Dublin and Cork, arising from the decision of the High Court last August. The new agency, the Women's Counselling Network, is operating from Dorset St and is offering advice to women in crisis pregnancies. It is understood the new agency is operating within existing legal guidelines. Under current legislation any pregnancy agency which does not provide information on abortion is not subject to regulation.”
(Full article at http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=...d=537)

The agency applied for government funding in 2003 under the name “Womens’ Resource Centre”, but was turned down.They also contributed to the government Green Paper on abortion, as did Youth Defence.

“WCN” seemed to have broadly similar aims to the American "Pregnancy Resource
Centres" This Time article http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,159044....html
details the reliances of these agencies on ultrasound scans to get women who wanted to have abortions to change their minds. One group of these American "Pregnancy Resource Centres" has a "Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help" on its website. Here's the site – search for Ireland at this link.. http://www.heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide_directo...y.asp

You'll notice The Majella Pregnancy Centre in Limerick, the Mariel Crisis Pregnancy Center in Cork and something called The WCN International in Dublin. Although it’s not operating from the same address as the Aadams agency was, an article in the Irish Examiner clearly linked the two agencies together.

“THE founder of the pregnancy advice agency at the centre of an illegal adoption storm is running as an independent by election candidate in Dublin South Central.
The candidate is the founder and proprietor of the Aadam’s pregnancy advice centre. He unlawfully adopted a four day old baby from a college student who had sought advice on her crisis pregnancy from the Aadams Agency.
In the High Court in August, Justice Laffoy ruled that the man could not be named, in order to prevent the mother and baby from being identified. This man is now seeking election to the Dáil.
This man is also involved in another crisis pregnancy advice centre called WCN International.”

(Full story at http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/10/23/ipage_3...3.htm)

Another Examiner article names the proprieter as Eamon Murphy.

“Independent candidate Eamon Murphy is head of Aadams Women’s centre and he is a strong anti abortion campaigner.”

(Full story at http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/10/26/ipage_1.htm)

These websites detail the electoral career of Eamonn Murphy. He ran for election in 1994 and 1999, once under the banner of the Christian Centrist Party.

http://www.electionsireland.org/result.cfm?election=199...s=103
http://www.electionsireland.org/result.cfm?election=199...party

In 2000, the agency became known as “Alpha”. They painted over their sign on the Dorset St. premises and changed their Golden Pages listing after this Newstalk
documentary: http://www.newstalk.ie/podcasts/library/Abortion/part1.mp3

From 2006, the agency has been listed in the Golden Pages as “A Choice for Women”, and also as “British Alternatives Pregnancy Services”. Two listings, two numbers – but only one place.

This is the official listing for the “A Choice for Women” business. Note the name – Micheal O’Lorchain.

Detail on Business Name (source CRO):
Number 179441
Name
A CHOICE FOR WOMEN - WOMEN'S RESOURCE CENTRES
Address
50, UPPER DORSET STREET,
DUBLIN 1.
Registered
02/05/2000
Status
Normal
Effective date: 04/05/2000
Owner Name: MICHEAL O'LORHCAIN
Date of Birth: Not Available
Address: 5A, TOLKA COTTAGES,
DUBLIN 9.

A certain Michael Larkin ran for election in 2002 on the Christian Solidarity Party ticket. Their office is around the corner from the agency at 14 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1. The links between this “crisis pregnancy agency” and the fundamental religious parties of the right are undeniable.

Thankyou for reading this far – we hope that you consider getting involved. To be added to the mailing list, please contact horganjones.jane AT gmail.com.

author by Rahoodpublication date Fri Mar 09, 2007 19:31Report this post to the editors

Having just read the report of your day of action, I would just like to say Thanks for taking the time to put this background info together, perhaps a link to here from the featured article might be in order.

author by TCpublication date Sat Mar 10, 2007 14:47Report this post to the editors

...just sorry I couldn't be there on the day.

author by Dr SeánO Domhnaill - Hippocratic Oath Societypublication date Sun Mar 11, 2007 23:46author email sean.odomhnaill at gmail dot comauthor address St Vincent's Hospital, Fairview, Dublin 3.author phone 087 9403448Report this post to the editors

The article refers to the "parties" of the right. There are none currently, if you mean in relation to social policy. The agencies referred to above serve both to reduce the number of dead unborn children and the number of severely damaged post-aborted women. Even the most conservative estimates for post-abortion psychiatric sequelae are in the region of 10% or more. These are described as "severe and/or prolonged" psychological effects. You can keep your false compassion. As a psychiatric professional who has treated dozens of women for post-abortion related conditions in Ireland and the U.K., I find your facile approach to the abortion "debate" to be ignorant in the extreme.

Here's a fact for you to digest: Abortion kills women before they are born and injures women after they are born. I have yet to come across a single case of a woman psychologically damaged because she could not have an abortion. Dress it up as "women's reproductive rights if you want", but the pro-aborts only started providing post-abortion counselling in 1993 after the "parties" of the right pointed out the harm that abortion does to women and their unborn off-spring. Why don't you educate yourselves about what you are advocating? Maybe some reality might bite.

Abortion is the counsel of despair, and you lot seem more than willing to promulgate it. I am happy to stand over my comments and attach my mobile number for anyone who wishes to engage in meaningful dialogue. Hate messages are expected, but I'm young enough to cope with childish behaviour, and old enough to take it with a pinch of salt.

Related Link: http://www.justthefacts.ie
author by C Murraypublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:12Report this post to the editors



But:-

The right to free, safe and legal abortion In Ireland will happen.

This is not a philosophical or medical issue- it is a human rights issue.
I would cite the Roa case in Columbia with regard to the medical or philospohical
ethics of the situation. Any practioner who chose to opt out of the' abortion by right
question' in Columbia was allowed but the hospitals must provide free, safe and
legal abortions to women who for reason of :- Rape/incest/enforced pregnancy/foetal
anomaly/youth (one 9 year old, one 11 year old) have the right to abort.

The Roa case is interesting from a legislative viewpoint as it depends on a
hospital service that is not privatised and a clinic system which is regulated
by the state -and not privately.

Problems with 'rogue agencies' are that they are run on a 'for profit' basis
and governed by the ethos of the shareholders.

Legislation and regulation is therefore necessary to the medical abortion issue.
I note that you consistently use the term 'woman' in relation to the abortion
issue- a bit of reading and understanding of the arguments (as well as
some common sense) would inform you that our legislation, specifically
the co-equality issue does not protect the 12-17 year old pre-consent
child. An adolescent 'girl' is not a woman- and an enforced pregnancy is
most definitely a 'human rights' issue- language used by anti-abortionists
can often be used in a manner that is inciteful and sexist.

As to the choice issue- that is really for the couple or woman and not
for the medical practioner- who must alone work on the case evidence and not impose
their personal view on the woman or couple- as that is counter to their oath.
medical practioners must act within legislation- the legislation in 'X'
is long overdue.

author by Hippocratespublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:18Report this post to the editors

So as a medical professional you give your full support to agencies that tell lies and bully women. Thanks for that Sean, good to know where we stand

author by Pushkinpublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:37Report this post to the editors

". Even the most conservative estimates for post-abortion psychiatric sequelae
are in the region of 10% or more. These are described as "severe and/or
prolonged" psychological effects. "

Factually incorrect. No independent medical research supports this asserrtion.

". As a psychiatric professional who has treated dozens of women for
post-abortion related conditions in Ireland and the U.K., I find your facile approach to the abortion "debate" to be ignorant in the extreme. "

This Dr is a leading member of Youth Defence, Mother & Child Campaign and is not unbiased.

"I have yet to come across a single case of a woman psychologically damaged
because she could not have an abortion. "

There are numeroius studies which point to women suffering psychological damage
due to being forced to continue a pregnancy.

"Dress it up as "women's reproductive rights if you want", but the pro-aborts
only started providing post-abortion counselling in 1993 after the "parties" of
the right pointed out the harm that abortion does to women and their unborn
off-spring."

Factually incorrect, IFPA, Well Woman always provided post abortion counselling.

BTW

Are you speaking on behalf of St Vincents Hospital?

author by C Murraypublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:14Report this post to the editors



I cited the Roa case in relation to the constitutional challenge on the abortion laws
in Columbia-(in a comment above).

The links to the case and interview with Monica are here:-

http://www.whrnet.org/docs/interview-roa-0507.html

and Womenslink is here:-

http://www.womenslinkworldwide.org

I will retrieve the film link and post it later.

author by Janepublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 15:47Report this post to the editors

"A small group of some six people forms the core of Youth Defence. The others are accountant Niamh Nic Mhathúna, Eircom employee Una Nic Mhathúna, GP Dr Sean ó Domhnaill, lift engineer Peter Murphy and addiction counsellor Maurice Colgan. All are in their late twenties or early thirties."

Source - http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2001/12/16/story651...8.asp

Also see - http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/04/22/story52...1.asp

author by to add to thatpublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 15:54Report this post to the editors

Dear Pro-Life Friend,

We have reached a critical point in our fight to have Irish medical ethics protected from political interference. In spite of fierce opposition, the Minister for Health, Mary Harney has pushed ahead and published the draft Medical Practitioners Bill.

This Bill would allow the Minister to appoint a majority of lay-people onto the Medical Council. This would be a disaster for unborn babies and for the pro-life medical ethics which have defended human life from abuse in Ireland.

Mary Harney has previously shown her support for abortion and for embryo research. If this Bill goes through she, or any Health Minister, can make sure that the majority of people on the Medical Council are pro-abortion.

We need to make our voices heard NOW!

The Bill has gone to a Dáil Committee for review. We need to make our voices heard in urgent opposition. I have enclosed a list of members of that Committee. I am asking you to call any Committee member in your constituency today and to make the following points to them.

1. This Bill gives the Health Minister power to appoint a lay majority on the Medical Council. This is not right. Medical ethics should always be kept separate from politics.

2. This Bill will not protect patients. In fact, asking lay people to make medical decisions will be bad for patients and bad for medical practice.

3. This matter is very important to you and will be a major factor in how you will vote in the next election.

If the TDs and Senators listed are not in your constituency or you do not have a vote in the Seanad, call an Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney, Minister for Health on the phone numbers below:

Bertie Ahern: Tel: 01 8374129 / 01 6194020

Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie

Mary Harney: Tel: (01) 4579070/ 6354148

Email: info@maryharney.ie

In supporting this Bill, Mary Harney has argued that a lay majority on the Medical Council will protect patients, such as those of Dr Michael Neary, from professional malpractice. This is simply untrue. In fact, other countries have decided against a lay majority on Medical Committees since they realised that this would cause standards to slip and that patients would suffer.

Dr Liam Twomey, the Wexford Fine Gael TD, sits on the Dáil Committee which is now examining the Bill. Dr Twomey raised objections to Mary Harney's proposals in the Dáil and expressed his concerns that the Bill would be used to enforce political views regarding abortion and embryo research.

He was entirely correct - but Mary Harney rushed to contradict him. Her rebuttals were not convincing.

This is a real crisis for the protection of human life. Can I ask you to make these phone calls today. Time is not on our side and we need to urgently defend Irish medical ethics from this stealth attack by the Minister for Health.

In the fifteen years since the X case, Irish doctors have stood firm against attempts to force them to endorse abortion. The Medical Practitioners Bill is the government's attempt to drastically change pro-life medical ethics by the back door.

Please join with me in preventing this Bill and defending the right-to-life from the moment of conception.

My colleagues and I also wish to thank the Mother & Child Campaign for their continued support.

God Bless,

Le meas,

Dr. Seán Ó Domhnaill

author by scannerpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 18:53Report this post to the editors

Pregnancy
and Family Planning ads

Directory gives warning on agencies but still takes the shlling on the next page
Directory gives warning on agencies but still takes the shlling on the next page

You know what they say about the size of your ad?
You know what they say about the size of your ad?

BAPS, Majella etc
BAPS, Majella etc

Family Planning Page
Family Planning Page

Family planning
Family planning

author by scannerpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 18:56Report this post to the editors

.

family planning
family planning

author by cablepublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 19:24Report this post to the editors

I suffered some depression after a termination (for which I had no counselling or advice - I thought it wd be like having a tooth out) BUT I know at least 2 women who went severely off the rails after childbirth; 1 of them who had no access to abortion went on to ill-treat her daughter & murder her next-door neighbour.

author by scitobselpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 13:42Report this post to the editors

So thats it!

If you deny women the right to abortion they will go on to mistreat their children and murder their neighbours.

Great argument!

author by moipublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 05:19Report this post to the editors

Dont think that was the point being made, I assume it was a response to the Dr's comment's above. An example to show some women do suffer trauma from having to have a child they don't want.

author by Patricapublication date Fri Mar 23, 2007 19:00Report this post to the editors

THE GREATEST TRAUMA THAT A PREGNANT WOMAN CAN SUFFER IS TO GET NO SUPPORT WHEN SHE MOST NEEDS IT.

TELLING A WOMAN SHE CAN GET RYANAIR TO ENGLAND FOR A TERMINATION IS NOT SUPPORT.

REALLY WHAT YOU'RE SAYING WHEN YOU SUGGEST THAT SOLUTION IS
"don't bother me with your problem".
.

author by Platopublication date Sun Jul 22, 2007 09:58Report this post to the editors

Taken from the same post,

"THE GREATEST TRAUMA THAT A PREGNANT WOMAN CAN SUFFER IS TO GET NO SUPPORT WHEN SHE MOST NEEDS IT.
TELLING A WOMAN SHE CAN GET RYANAIR TO ENGLAND FOR A TERMINATION IS NOT SUPPORT.
REALLY WHAT YOU'RE SAYING WHEN YOU SUGGEST THAT SOLUTION IS
"don't bother me with your problem"."

author by ChrisNoisepublication date Mon Jul 06, 2009 16:06Report this post to the editors

I am usually skeptical of articles from either side of this argument when condemning an agency but this article is well written and well referenced. I am shocked that an agency like this can operate completely unregulated! I hope to be at the protest tomorrow.

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