Lying for Jesus: Irish “pregnancy counseling center” tells whoppers to women to prevent abortions

The Times (Irish edition) has an article and a video of an undercover reporter visiting a place that “advertises itself as an impartial source of advice for women who want to travel to the UK to access an abortion but has direct links to a Catholic anti-abortion group.” It’s The Women’s Center on Berkeley Street in Dublin.

It’s appalling—but perfectly legal—for a group like this to purvey lies, trying to scare women out of having an abortion. Have a listen to the undercover video below; if this doesn’t make you mad, you haven’t woken up yet:

Here are 6 lies that you can catch from the video and the article:

  • Abortion can cause breast cancer.
  • Abortion leads to the woman abusing her future children.
  • It’s too late at six weeks of pregnancy to use miscarriage-inducing pills like mifepristone.
  • Abortion often leads to the death of the women who have the procedure.
  • If the reporter, who wasn’t pregnant, went to the UK, she should go to the Women’s Center there (another branch of this group), for other UK abortion clinics could give her an infection.

Every one of these is wrong.

Now you’d think that any woman seeking advice about abortions might have done some preliminary investigation, so why would they fall for this duplicitous advice? One possible answer is that the Dublin Women’s Centre is used by many migrant women, who might be not only terrified and ignorant about medications, but also under pressure from their husbands to have a child. And, of course, many women are confused and distressed in these situations, and thus might be more credulous about ludicrous “advice” like this.

Finally, the paper notes that the reporter, before leaving—she came back for an ultrasound that of course showed she wasn’t pregnant—was given literature touting the ineffectiveness of abortion pills, and claiming that abortion could cause “suicidal impulses, an intense interest in babies, constant sighing, guilt, crying, swallowing, a preoccupation with death, a loss of interest in sex, a coma [!], loss of organs, a desire to end relationships, a loss of maternal instincts and lower self esteem.”

One wonder why these “clinics” aren’t regulated, or at least prevented from telling blatant lies. Well, Ireland is a Catholic country that forbids regular abortions, so it’s in the Church’s interest to keep this scam going. Nevertheless, these “women’s centres” are dispensing medical advice, and one would hope that the government would ensure that that advice was based on facts. Saying stuff like abortion leads to “loss of organs” is simply reprehensible.

This “counselor” surely knows she’s telling lies. But, like creationists, she thinks that the Greater Good of Producing Babies for Jesus outweighs those lies. It is, after all, Lying for Jesus. It’s more perfidy from our friend The Vatican, who just ensainted another abortion opponent, Mother Teresa.



  1. GBJames
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink


  2. alexandra moffat
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Speaking of “Saint” Teresa (which has happened too much lately) – NPR was STILL sneaking her into the news last night. Maybe we poked a hornets nest, because NPR went overboard in continuing to smother its listeners with encomiums for the fraud.
    That’s it. Never again will that name be spoken by me!

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      James Bond’s one and only wife was named Teresa, but she vigorously preferred the name “Tracy” disdaining Teresa as “the name of a saint”.

  3. eric
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    claiming that abortion could cause “suicidal impulses, an intense interest in babies, constant sighing, guilt, crying, swallowing, a preoccupation with death, a loss of interest in sex, a coma [!], loss of organs, a desire to end relationships, a loss of maternal instincts and lower self esteem.”

    Loss of organs? Does your liver somehow drop through your uterus?

    What unbelievable claptrap. And I love how they threw in a bunch of perfectly normal biological activities (sighing, swallowing) on top of the scare tactics. That’s basically the pseudo-medical equivalent of cold-reading, meant to impress people through confirmation bias. “I’m getting sighing. Anyone here just sigh? You, madam? Wow, that could not have been coincidence!

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Are they talking about the consequences of abortion or Catholicism?

      I’m trying very hard to be mature enough to not make a comment about the swallowing symptom.

    • Linn
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      The irony here is that all of those could be a consequence of pregnancy and birth, rather than abortion.

      Let’s take them one by one:
      – “Loss of organs”. Guess they mean organ failure. That could be caused by ecclampsia which can be caused by pregnancy. Ecclampsia can for instance cause kidney failure, so I would say abortion is the far safer option if “organ loss” is feared.
      – “Intense interest in babies”. This speaks for itself as something that generally comes after birth, not as much with abortion.
      -“Sighing, crying, swallowing”. I’ve encountered plenty of pregnant women and new mothers that feel more emotional than usual.
      And women in their late pregnancy can get issues with heart burn which may cause them to swallow more. So again, these are issues with pregnancy, not abortion.
      “Suicidal impulses, guilt, loss of sex interest, low self esteem etc”. These can be symptoms of post partum depression.

      I think the people in these centers have been reading about potential complications of pregnancy and birth, and then for some reason figured they would blame abortion instead. It’s like listing all the complications of hypertension, and warn people against antihypertensives. Baffles me.

  4. Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It’s disgusting, when I think about how many vulnerable woman when through their doors to be fed with that load of nonsense it infuriates me.

  5. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Which ties right in, of course, with that old ghoul Mother F Saint Bojaxhiu as quoted in Hitchens’ film (linked to from your post a couple of days ago).

    I haven’t watched the Times video – the Hitchens film raised my blood pressure quite enough.


  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Here’s another good article on the subject – from NBC:

    Note that it isn’t only women in the Republic of Ireland who suffer from this religious bigotry – women in Northern Ireland are equally badly off. It seems the Catholic bigots and the Protestant bigots are as bad as each other.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Apropos of which (Northern Ireland) the Grauniad has a good article:

      It seems NI has the most savage penalties for procuring an abortion in all of Europe – up to life imprisonment. So far, just one person has been charged for taking the on-line-available medical abortion pills, and she got 3 months suspended sentence. 200 campaigners have publicly admitted to procuring the pills and invited the police to arrest them, but the police seem curiously reluctant to do so.

      (I hope Jerry won’t take umbrage at me for hijacking the thread)


  7. Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    This is practicing medicine without a license. It’s likely not legal, but someone would have to launch a complaint.

  8. Kevin
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Here’s some good advice: Irish women, if you want pregnancy advice, ask your family, friends, go to the internet (on your own). Investigate what others have done and learn from their experiences.

    This type of story is old. Everyone knows that if you go to a pregnancy counseling center you are likely to get polarizing views on this subject. As a society we need to recognize that these institutions are not and. very likely, will not ever provide unprejudiced advice for women. Thankfully there is a lot of information out there to help people and does not take long to discern what is true and what is deceitful.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      There’s a problem for many – they don’t dare ask their family or friends. IF they can afford to travel to UK they can have a safe legal abortion. If they can’t afford that, and they catch it early enough, they can use pills – IF they can get them – but in Northern Ireland at least (and probably the Republic) that’s a criminal offence and their ‘friends’ might shop them to the authorities. See that Guardian article I linked.

      I’ll give a link here – in case anyone in need reads this thread – to Abortion Support Network’s site:
      (Disclaimer: I know nothing of them but what I’ve read online)

      OK that’s enough before Jerry chucks me off this thread.


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Here is some better advice to the Irish women. How about the legal system in Ireland go after this kind of false medical advise and the garbage they spew. Everyone knows that if you go to a pregnancy counseling center you are likely to get polarizing views? I’m not everyone, but I did not know that? Was there a survey done?

      • eric
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Even better advice for Irish women AND men would be to vote in a party that advocates for changing the law to decriminalize it. I suspect, however, that Irish liberals don’t really need that advice – that they’re working the issue far far better than any armchair quarterback in the US (like me) could suggest.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          At the moment there is a very strong activism in Ireland petitioning the government to amend the law. However, neither of the two main parties really wants to have to deal with the issue and have avoided it for decades, so it is an uphill battle.

          • kieran
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            Step 1: Get a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. That’s the hard part because it will cost FG their core rural elderly vote. The idea of a referendum only has 66% support and that’s just holding the damn thing. Don’t make the mistake that it will pass just because the marriage referendum one past, trust me when i say the level of funding the no campaign got in that one will nothing compared to the dollars they will receive in this one.

            Step 2: Insure the legislation proposed covers more than just suicide, rape, incest and fatal fetal abnormalities although it’ll be lucky to cover even those. I’m not joking.

            Step 3: Provide proper care and support for women in Ireland and not expect other countries to deal with our issues.

            Just to note the “clinic” would refer people to their sister clinic in England.

            If you are Irish do not talk to family and friends for advice her mother said she was killing her grand child

            The problem with these centres was raised in the Dail in 2000 by Alan Shatter

  9. Claudia Baker
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    What a load of shite.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  10. somer
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    The pits. Im sure these people feel very
    “righteous” F**k Power and righteousness.

  11. Historian
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “This ‘counselor’ surely knows she’s telling lies.”

    This may be so, but I am not sure. I would like to know what training these “counselors” have. Do they have any sort of medical background? It is quite possible that they are simply parroting scripts handed to them by the Church. As ardent believers and dupes of the Church, it may not even cross their minds that what they are saying is pure claptrap. From what I have observed, true believers rarely challenge what they are told. Critical thinking is not something that characterizes the faithful. They filter out without consideration any contradictory information.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The greatest con artists are those who believe the con themselves.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Regardless of the person originating the lies, they are what I call “faith-panic”,
      perhaps rooted in an attempt to resolve a lot of cognitive dissonance between one’s creed and the way the world works.

    • eric
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Yep, I think we shouldn’t assume they’re lying. As the old saying goes, never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Yes, it’s probably just coincidence the place that advertises itself as a center for advise to women on abortion also provides them with this incompetent information. Just bad luck?

        • eric
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          Clearly the pamphlet-makers and people in charge of the content are biased at least and lying most likely. But the original content was about the councilors, not the content developers. I.e., the lower-level flunkies. I’ll stick by my expectation that those councilors are probably not intentionally lying to the women who come in. I’m guessing they are sincere. Misinformed and incompetent at medical practice, but sincere.

          • Grania Spingies
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            They’re sincere the way teachers of Creationism are sincere. They know that scientists claim that the evidence does not support Creationism, but they reject the evidence anyway because it doesn’t suit their cause.

            • eric
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

              I agree!

  12. Linn
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’ve always wondered how people can tell such lies with a straight face.

    As a side note, I came over another example in a stupid discussion that showed how some people repeat lies over and over again until it becomes their reality.
    It was some guy (a catholic) talking about how women are incapable of love (and he sometimes used abortion as an example of that), that women have never faced any oppression in history and that all women teach their sons to hate themselves and other men.
    There was a woman that tried to join the discussion and convince him that many women love their sons, husbands and other family members, but he was impossible to convince him. He kept talking about how history proved him right. It always baffles me that someone can have such a distorted view of history and the world.
    I kinda felt sorry for the guy, believing that half the human population (+ the men he claimed was brainwashed by women) hates him because he’s a man.

    In the same way I sometimes feel sorry for some of the pro-life people. It must feel horrible to think that women are such “sinful creatures” that kill “babies”.

    And because they already have that view of women they make up lies to support their case, just like the guy I used as an example.
    To them, women that take abortions are simply showing their true “murderous nature.”
    And since women are such sinful creatures, lying to them is alright. And of course, why cares about the woman’s health and right to bodily autonomy anyway? Such sinful creatures are only useful for popping out babies (preferably sons).

    Sorry for the long rant. Don’t know if what I wrote even made sense to anyone. 😛

    • rickflick
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      “was impossible to convince him”

      Yes, I know. People often depress me in great numbers. Roughly 50% of Americans do not think the Donald is unfit to be president. I feel sorry for them and for me. Some of them are my family, friends and neighbors. There is such a thing as being tolerant of others, but sometimes it tries my patience.

      • Linn
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:10 am | Permalink

        Yep. It didn’t really surprise me when I looked quickly through the guy’s post history and found out he was a Trump supporter and evolution denialist. Some things just seem to go together. We just have to remember that there’s still some hope left. At least over here in Norway, the vast majority of the people I know are atheist/agnostics and only a few people on internet comment sections would consider denying women abortion. I think the same can happen in Ireland one day,and the USA.

    • Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Men who feel this way about women shouldn’t be allowed near them — certainly not to breed.

  13. Leigh
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    This problem is not limited to Ireland. Go to any Crisis Pregnancy Center in the USA and you will hear similar stories about the dangers of abortion. These centers are not regulated as medical providers, because most of them do not provide any medical services, other than an ultrasound. They are not required to keep information provided by women confidential — no HIPPA protections offered.

    The Irish video defines the problem not just for that country but for ours as well. We need several thousand videos from the Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the US to support demands
    for regulations of the CPCs.

  14. Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    When I was at CMU, one of my co-workers in the ethic centre where I worked told me that she as someone involved with local Planned Parenthoods she had encountered similar “lying clinics” in the Pittsburgh area.

  15. Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink


  16. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Imo the counsellor and others like her are self-righteous, judgmental, hypocrites.

    I’m not sure she should be allowed to breed if she thinks telling lies is a means that justifies the end.

  17. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    If the reporter, who wasn’t pregnant, went to the UK, she should go to the Women’s Center there (another branch of this group), for other UK abortion clinics could give her an infection.

    Been a long day, so I didn’t waste time listening to meaningless bullshit. But that sounds like there is a potentially actionable claim for libel there.

  18. Roo
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Religious arguments aside, I am somewhat sensitive to (I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘sympathetic to’) those with opposing views on earlier term abortions. It’s difficult to say that one would *really use the same standards regarding how alive that fetus ‘is’ when talking to a woman who has had a miscarriage, or experienced the death of a premature baby. Something shifts depending on the context there, and I realize that people can be genuinely opposed to the idea on entirely secular grounds.

    That said, I am overcome by guilt at this post, as it is such a serious topic and those tactics are beyond the pale (I mean for frick’s sake, if you want to be an oppressive religious country just go all in and be a repressive religious country and ban it Because God Said So, setting up entire fake clinics is just weirdly elaborate,) and it’s terrible. But I cannot stop laughing at the ‘constant sighing’ part, as they clearly got a Harlequin romance novelist to write those pamphlets. Was that followed by “buxom chest heaving… from crying, I mean, from crying, that would be from the crying! Ok and…” as a symptom?

  19. Mark Joseph
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    The OP says “six lies,” but only five are listed. I want to know what the other lie is!

  20. Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Can any Brit feminists use this info to sue these b@stards for their back teeth? Will the reporters at least give them a big expose on TV?

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