‘If They Find Out, You’ll Spend Years In Prison’


Members of the Citizens Assembly vote on the Eighth Amendment in April


In The Times Ireland edition.

Ellen Coyne wrote about how a woman, referred to as Niamh, wanted an abortion in Ireland 16 years ago but was warned by a counsellor she might go to jail if she did so.

She was told this by a counsellor working for Life pregnancy counselling service in Cork city.

Ms Coyne explained how Life changed its name to Anew in 2015 and how it receives annual funding from the HSE.

From Ms Coyne’s report:

“I sat down and [the counsellor] said, ‘well you do know now, your baby has a heartbeat’. And, ‘you can’t even think about an abortion, that would be murder’. And she said, ‘I understand you’ve talked to loads of people, and one of those people now could go to the gardaí and tell them that you’ve had an abortion. And if they find out, you’ll spend years in prison’,” Niamh said.

She was so scared of being arrested and not being able to get a job that she continued the pregnancy. “I was forced into it. It was horrible.”

Life changed its name to Anew in 2015. Like Cura, it receives annual funding from the HSE crisis pregnancy programme. Niamh said that there was Southern Health Board literature on the tables and walls. Both Anew and Cura are anti-abortion, but do not clearly advertise their ethos. Cura also receives funding from the Catholic Church.

“I remember going to them and thinking they were funded by the HSE so they must be legit,” Niamh said. “Now I can see it clearly, I am so, so angry about it.”

…Niamh’s story was featured as part of the citizens’ assembly review of abortion laws this year. She said she was conscious that there were anti-abortion extremists who argue that if the counsellor had not deceived her, she would not have her eldest son.

“But I’m lucky, because I love my son,” she said. “There are other women out there that do not love their children. Some women look at a child that they didn’t want, and that’s not OK.

“And it’s also not OK for a child to grow up in a relationship where they are not wanted. That harms society. It’s just about indentured servitude at the end of the day, creating this class system of vulnerable people having children early.”

Niamh’s son is 16 years old and understands what happened to his mother when she was pregnant with him. “He has said that he understands my decisions. He also feels very angry. It makes him panic thinking that that could happen to him and his girlfriend or friend even now,” she said. “And I am very angry. Nothing has changed. It’s the same shit over and over again.”

Crisis pregnancy counsellor told Irish student abortion would lead to years in jail (The Times Ireland edition, Ellen Coyne)


25 thoughts on “‘If They Find Out, You’ll Spend Years In Prison’

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    These rogue agencies need to be shut down. They lie and put women’s lives in danger and I resent that my tax money funds these liars and charlatans.

  2. postmanpat

    “Your under arrest. ” “For what? ” “For having an abortion,”. “No I didn’t.” “He says you did.” “Does he have any proof?” “No…but….he said..” ” people say lots of things” “your absolutely right, in fact this conversation isn’t happening because we aren’t really he…..poooof!!!……. “then who am I talking too… hello? ………..hello?….”

  3. newsjustin

    We’re through the looking glass here – a parent thinks it’s reasonable to tell her 16 year old that he was entirely unwanted and should have been aborted. And he’s cool with that. Quirky.

    On the substance of the piece…I’m not sure I follow the advice. Wasn’t it/ isn’t it true that if you procure an abortion in Ireland (except in very particular cases) then you can go to jail for years?

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Sure antichoicers like Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen have made lucrative careers off the back of claiming to have been a failed abortion.

          1. Turgenev

            I don’t know that “jollies” is really the right word for the events they are brought to!

    2. postmanpat

      My mam told my youngest sister when she was 16 that if the down syndrome test she took while pregnant 16 years ago came back positive she would have traveled to have the pregnancy terminated in England. Its was an unexpected pregnancy fairly late in life. Among other things , she didn’t think it fair that the older siblings be lumbered with that reasonability when she and my dad died. My sister was cool with it. My sister literally said she would prefer to be terminated than be born retarded. So would I to be honest. Better to be frank and honest to your kids about these things. Love is often conditional, even with your own kids, its a natural part of life , everyone is different. Niamh turned out happy with her son , she would have also been okay if she terminated him and never met him and was simply letting him know. She seems like a cool mum to be honest. Shame on anyone for forcing her to have a baby. She shouldn’t be grateful to Life/Anew no mater how things worked out. They terrorized her into it for pious reasons. Even if it was true that she could have gotten arrested? what was the real likelihood of serving 2 years even if some old biddie ratted her out to some opus day police friend and actually had proof she wasn’t just holidaying in England for a few days? I don’t think anyone has gone to jail for these things. Miscarriages happen all the time, call it a miscarriage if anyone asks. Just lie, Goddamn it. Lie.

      1. newsjustin

        “Because love means letting them know you’d be okay if you had aborted them and never met them.”

        Do you write for Hallmark by any chance?

  4. Zuppy International

    This fake news story is so moronic that stupid abortion-huggers will swear up and down it proves their point about how the so-called “inhuman” eight amendment to the constitution.

    A young man is alive today because of the state’s obligation to protect the life of the unborn.

    In the upside-down, abortion-hugging bizzarro world of Broadsheet and its minions this is somehow sold as a tragedy.

    1. newsjustin

      In fairness, that’s about it. And the kid is somehow angry that his mother couldn’t abort him. Bizarre.

  5. Zuppy International

    Hey Bodger,

    Remember a few days ago when you promised you’d look into why my posts are being censored/altered? I made a comment yesterday in reply to Daisy Chainsaw above, but it too failed to appear.

    In light of this some more questions arise: Is Daisy somehow protected by the Broadsheet agenda? Is she above criticism? Is she in fact part of your moderation/editorial team?

    Does Broadsheet receive any funding and/or advertising from pro-abortion groups, including but not limited to organisations backed by George Soros?

    Full disclosure now Bodger, don’t hold back.

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