Latest: Taoiseach labels graphic abortion posters 'vile and counter-productive'

Update 3.20pm: The Taoiseach has labelled graphic abortion posters vile and counter-productive.

The Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform has been displaying the posters outside maternity hospitals this week.

They show unborn foetuses at various stages of development.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has hit out at the posters.

He said: "I do think they're counter-productive and that is the only thing that I can say about them that is anyway positive.

I hope they will be counter-productive and the people will revolt against them and the attitudes of the people who think that sort of advertising is in any way appropriate or convincing."

Update 10.57pm: The group behind graphic anti-abortion posters outside maternity hospitals believes it should step-up its campaign.

The Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform claims the seven-foot posters are as big as possible to have the greatest impact.

It acknowledges the campaign is "imperfect", but says the street is the only public forum left for what it calls "abortion victim photography".

The centre's director Jean Engela, who trained as a doctor in Ireland, thinks the posters are having an effect.

"If people have already seen the reality of what their pregnancy looks like at the earliest stages of gestation, why does seeing it make them upset?" he said.

"Unless, of course, they didn't know that's what their pregnancy looks like,

"We need to find out what venues our opposition get most indignant about, and realise that's where we're being most effective - and do more of it, not less."

Library pic of Rotunda Hospital

Earlier: Group vows to continue displaying controversial abortion banners outside maternity hospitals

Controversial abortion banners will be erected outside maternity hospitals in Dublin again today.

The posters claim to a show 10-week-old foetus moments before an abortion and have sparked an angry response with some claiming the campaign has reached a new low.

The Rotunda Hospital said the protest has caused "distress and upset" for patients, many of whom are attending for other reasons than the "happy occasion" of giving birth.

The Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform is behind the posters and says they are just showing the reality of the situation.

The group's stated mission is "making abortion impossible to ignore or trivialize until people are bothered enough to do something about it." Its website lists operations in 15 countries.

Their actions have been condemned by the official campaigns on both sides of the debate, however.

The LoveBoth campaign says it does not approve of the graphic abortion posters.

Cora Sherlock from LoveBoth says it’s not something they support.

She said: "We've had a consistent line on this, we don't approve of the indiscriminate showing of the remains of aborted babies and that will be our position going forward for the rest of this campaign."

Save the 8th spokesperson John McGuirk says the campaign has nothing to do with them.

He said: "Those people who are doing that should stop doing it. It is wrong, it is not helpful."

"They are not affiliated with our campaign. They are not affiliated with the other major pro-life campaigns.

"These are people who in many cases are not Irish."

Together For Yes spokesperson Sarah Monaghan said: "Together For Yes is concerned about the appearance of graphic posters outside maternity hospitals in recent days. They are inappropriate and disrespectful, particularly to women experiencing crisis pregnancies."

- Digital desk

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