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03 / 08 / 2011 - Response to report printed in The Irish News newspaper about an attack on a member of Precious Life
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Letters to the Editor
The Irish News
113 - 117 Donegall St,
Tel: 02890 322226
As a member of pro-life group Precious Life and a long-time reader of the Irish News, I was saddened that your newspaper would print such a biased and inaccurate report - "Anti-abortion protester pushed to ground in row" (2 Aug)
I am the so-called "protester" that was the victim of the attack outside the office of the Family Planning Association (FPA). However, the Irish News didn't report an attack but only stated that "...a row broke out". This implied both parties in the incident were guilty yet the reality is that I was an innocent party. I did not row with anyone. Would the Irish News report on any other innocent person being attacked in the street as 'a row breaking out' ?
Your report contained many other misrepresentations and inaccuracies.
It stated that the FPA offer counselling to women facing crisis pregnancies. But the report failed to mention that the FPA is an abortion referral agency, which is heavily involved in various campaigns and court cases to have abortion legalised in Northern Ireland.
And Precious Life do not "...stage daily protests outside the FPA" as the Irish News stated. Precious Life hold daily Prayers Vigils outside the building where the FPA have their office. The building also contains a number of offices for other organisations - e.g.: Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities. During our Vigils usually no more than three people will stand quietly praying. One of our volunteers will also hand out pro-life information leaflets to people going in or out of the building.
Your report, which began with an inaccurate account of the particular incident, was then used to give the FPA and NICEM a platform to make unsubstantiated allegations and accusations about Precious Life.
The FPA falsely claimed that we "...harassed people." But offering someone a leaflet is not harassment. I regularly walk through Belfast city centre and I am constantly offered leaflets or approached by people with surveys and petitions, etc. It would be ludicrous to call this "harassment."
The fact that the FPA would ignore an attack on a woman but instead use it as an excuse to make false allegations about Precious Life, only goes to show that the FPA have no real concern for women.
While I would expect untruths about Precious Life from the FPA, I was disappointed that Patrick Yu, chief executive of NICEM, would make the accusation that "...some of these protesters are very aggressive." This is completely untrue. Precious Life volunteers are never aggressive. We are there trying to save unborn babies from abortion by offering help and support to women in crisis pregnancies. NICEM say their vision is a society where human rights are guaranteed so I was shocked that they would side with an anti-life organisation such as the FPA who deny the right to life of unborn babies.
So these allegation from FPA and NICEM are totally unfounded. Even the police spokeswoman in your report simply stated "...a female was attempting to pass on a leaflet." The police made no mention of harassment or aggression by Precious Life.
In future, I hope the Irish News will only print reports that are truthful and unbiased, and not be used as a platform to promote a pro-abortion agenda.
PO Box 425