The anti-abortion pressure group, Youth Defence, which kept the contentious issue on the boil

Irish Independent, September 1998

Youth Defence's campaigns aim to ensure the legal right-to-life of unborn children, and to oppose any attempt to introduce abortion legislation. Since the subject is abortion, the focus is often mothers and babies, but the audience is wide open and includes anyone at all.

We produced the first nationwide pro-life advertising campaign seen in Ireland - Project Truth - which included billboards and a radio advertisement. The radio ad described the different stages of life in the womb. In an incredible act of State censorship, it was banned from the airwaves.

Here's the wording of the ad so you can see for yourself how "offensive" it was:

(To the background of a heartbeat)

"Her heart has been beating since she was 18 days old.At eight weeks she was perfectly formed.And she already has 20 milk-teeth buds.

(Heartbeat stops)

"In another two weeks she would have had fingernails. She might have grown up to be a scientist, a doctor, a mother.But now nobody will ever know.

Have you any conception was abortion is all about?"

Listen to the first advertisement here...

A bit of a change from the usual jingles. One pirate station did play it for a month with no charge, but the rest bowed to the State's clamp down on such seditious stuff.

Kill the Bill Info Campaign

Not to be deterred, YD have since designed advertising campaigns using billboards, bus and train ads, and newspaper and internet advertising to highlight some key issues; such as the fact that abortion is never medically necessary; why a pro-life referendum offers the most democratic choice; and why lethal research on human embryos destroys human life and offers no cures.

But campaigns are about much more than advertising, and that's where having a lot of mustard-keen volunteers comes in. YD are glad to say we've always had enough hands-on-deck to sustain widespread campaigns, including leafleting, canvassing, debating, and pulling a variety of stunts.

At O'Connell Street Bridge, in Dublin. Possibly the most visible billboard in the whole country.

We also believe in "naming and shaming" - so if politicians or political appointees want to abuse their power to try and force through abortion legislation or embryo research we don't keep quiet about it. Government ministers, Taoisaigh, powerful committees and unscrupulous abortion practitioners have been exposed by YD, often resulting in the shelving of some fairly sneaky plans to weaken our pro-life laws.