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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Undercover at a Limerick rogue crisis pregnancy agency

From the IFPA rogue abortion agency factsheet :
"Individuals can fight RCPAs by providing testimony about their experience and the danger and harm caused by RCPA's. TD's and other elected representatives also can be educated through letters, emails, faxes, phone calls, and visits from's resource centre"
For the purposes of educating myself and others on rogue pregnancy agencies this is my account of my experience at the WRC (Women's Resource Centre). To discover the truth I had to pretend to be five weeks pregnant and also used a pseudoname . All articles were given to me by the WRC. This is my complete account......... On Monday the 12th of March I rang the WRC saying I was 5 weeks pregnant and needed to talk to someone. I was asked where would suit me best for a consult. I was confused as I thought there was only a centre in Dublin but I said I'd prefer Limerick If at all possible. She said they had one counsellor in Limerick who deals with women from the comfortable and private environment of her home due.So I made an appointment to see her. During the week I got a phone call from the Limerick counsellor called Etna. She said It was difficult to find her house so we decided to meet at 12 outside the crescent shopping centre the week after ,March 24th. As I stood there waiting for her on Saturday morning I was terrified. How would I know who Etna was? Where was she going to take me? Would she see through my 'pregnancy'? Would I be safe getting into a strangers car? I then thought of all the women and young girls who had stood their before me a lot more scared then I was. I was only pretending to be going through a crisis pregnancy but for those here before this was real. It was Etna who they turned to for help. So I prayed that she wouldn't follow the past history of the Dublin branch of WRC by using scare tactics and false information to dissuade women from having a termination. I was shocked when Etna arrived. She was young (30ish),pretty,nice and caring person. We got into her car and drove to her house in Dooradoyle. We didn't talk at all in the car. At her house she asked me to fill out some personal info such as when I got my last period,any history of pregnancy,miscarriage etc. After this she asked me how I was feeling. I said I was 6 weeks pregnant,in my last year of college and I just couldn't imagine having a baby at this stage of my life. I said the only option I could think of for me at the moment was abortion.I said how I couldn't believe that It had happened as we were safe and used a condom. She told me that condoms have only a 50% effectivity rate. I went on to say that I couldn't tell my parents and my boyfriend of a year,John,was not ready to be a father. She asked me If I was still with my boyfriend and I said yes. I said I was worried that my parents had guessed I was pregnant and she said that most women don't show pregnancy at all. At this point she said she would leave me alone for 5 minutes to watch a video on the abortion procedure . (After trailing the internet I found it (stopped at 6mins, the voiceover part at the beginning was not shown). The video showed an experienced gynecologist standing in front of a tray of surgical instruments used in terminations. The doctor went onto explain how you would terminate a baby at week 6 gestation. She showed a catheter with a pointed suction tube on the end and It was explained how the contents of the uterus were sucked down the tube.It was also pointed out how the pointed tube can cause perforation and bleeding of the uterus. Etna then came back into the room and asked me how I was feeling. I said that I was confused and I didn't know what to do. I said I was scared of having an operation cos I dont like needles and things like that. She then showed me the form I would have to complete before the operation pointing out the clause that 'death' is a huge risk and the surgeon will not be held responsible for this.
She then showed me this graph of how many people die from terminations compared to a full term pregnancy. She then handed me a sheet showing all the physical and psychological effects of terminations. She in particular pointed out 'suicidal impulses' and told me of a girl in America who had an abortion and committed suicide 2 weeks later. (At the beginning of the consult I had told her I was on antidepressants and had been for a year.Also during the consult I was in a fragile,distressed state and openly crying at many stages). After this she told me of the huge increase in breast cancer I will have after an abortion and gave me a sheet of numerous studies (all from the 80's) pointing out these 'facts'.
After all this she once again asked me how I was feeling. I siad I was just really confused. She then asked me what I thought pregnancy was.I said it was a baby growing inside someone. She then asked me what I thought abortion was.I said It was getting rid of the baby. She then asked me would I be able to live with myself knowing I had killed my first born. She then showed me a video of what my baby looks like at the moment. It was an ultrasound of a little fetus doing little jumps with a little heart beat.The video was very cute as It showed the baby jumping around and waving (pretty amazing for a 5 week fetus!). After this video she handed me a little plastic figure of 'my baby' and she showed me a picture of what It looks like. Beside it she showed me two pictures of what my baby would look like after the abortion. She also showed me pictures of body parts in a rubbish bin which really is too horrific to show. I said I was worried because a termination was what me and my boyfriend had decided on.I said I would be scared he'd leave me If I didn't get a termination. She then showed me this and said that the majority of relationships break up after an abortion.
I said I just couldn't tell my parents I was pregnant as they would be really upset with me. She said that most parents take the news well and how would I feel in ten years time when I was telling my parents I had killed their first grand child. I said how I had just finished college and I wanted to go away travelling for a year and have freedom but I cant do this If I have a baby. She agreed and asked me would be able to go away If I had breast cancer or severe depression? I said then that I would just have to speak to my boyfriend about it and the consult ended there. Just for those who are unsure what to make of this let me explain. This agency describes themselves as giving impartial advice on all all options in crisis pregnancy. This is not what I received. I felt at the end of my consult Etna did not care how I was feeling or how I would cope but just pleased that she managed to change my mind on abortion. Family planning agencies should be impartial,honest and there for the good of the patient. They should not give out leaflets on information that is completely untrue. I have forwarded my account to the family planning agencies,dail representatives and the womens council of Ireland. Hopefully with more of these accounts we can get decent regulation of these rogue agencies.