Content note: anti-choice propaganda
Today Broadsheet.ie shared this image of a truck displaying an billboard ad from extreme anti-choice organisation Youth Defence, which was parked opposite the Dublin rape crisis centre. A truly reprehensible to do, unquestionably. It puts paid, once and for all to the notion that they are “pro-woman”, but why a rape crisis centre? Even by Youth Defence’s abysmal standards, this is a despicable move.
My theory is this: Youth Defence have realised that they have lost the political battle. Opinion poll after opinion poll shows that the overwhelming majority of respondents are in favour of legislating for the X case, if not further. Youth Defence are cognizant of this, and the only avenue left to them is to simply cause as much offence and hurt as possible, a final slap in the face. Abortion in cases of rape is not provided for in the legislation currently being proposed, but YD are no doubt aware that many women and girls who have conceived as a result of rape will be contemplating abortion, whether in the UK or by ordering pills online. The slogan on this poster is a direct message of abuse and intimidation to these women. Youth Defence’s political power is limited, but creating an atmosphere of misogyny and shaming may be good enough for them at this stage.
I’ve said in the past that Youth Defence are low-hanging fruit in terms of agents of misogyny and woman-hating in Ireland. There are more insidious forms of misogyny in Ireland; institutional sexism and rape culture is runs through the fabric of Irish society, and abortion legislation will not remedy that overnight. However, what Youth Defence does have is a healthy bank balance, courtesy of their friends in the United States. Their legislative influence is not what it used to be, but while they can afford to beam these dismal, taunting slogans into the view of vulnerable eyes, they’ll be satisfied.