Parents angered by referendum posters

Parents are being forced into conversations their children are not ready for by posters associated with the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment, an online survey has found.

Nine in 10 parents who took part in the survey, by One Family, a national organisation for one-parent families, said the posters were not helpful.

Three quarters said the campaign has led to discussions about abortion with their children.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, said that many parents felt the posters should not have gone up in the first place, or that text, without images, would have been more appropriate.

“Perhaps in the future, consideration should be given to not using pictures, which in some cases are graphic and disturbing,” said Ms Kiernan.

One Family, which provides crisis pregnancy and post-abortion counselling services, launched the survey last week “following an escalation in the number of people seeking its counselling and parenting services, particularly its tips on how to speak to your child about abortion”.

The majority of those seeking support said they had done so after they, or their children, had seen graphic campaign posters.

Ms Kiernan said: “What we are finding is that parents are being triggered by the images into a conversation with their children that they are just not ready for."

She said parents were particularly annoyed that posters were placed near schools.

The survey was conducted online by One Family through its social media and e-zine followers, as well as via other organisations working with families and had over 300 respondents.

It included community and voluntary child and family organisations.

Last week, anti-repeal campaigners the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform were criticised for displaying graphic imagery showing foetuses outside Dublin’s three maternity hospitals.

With less than three weeks to run to the referendum vote on Friday, May 25, a poll published yesterday in the Sunday Independent found the Yes side is narrowly ahead.

When the undecideds are included, the poll shows 45% in favour, 34% against, with 18% undecided and 4% who did not express an opinion.

The referendum will ask if citizens want to delete the Eighth Amendment, and insert new wording enabling the Dáil to make laws allowing women to access abortion in Ireland.

Together For Yes welcomed yesterday’s poll, saying it shows consistent support for a yes vote.

The group launched its ‘Get Together For Yes’ conversations tour in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

The Love Both campaign, which opposes repealing the Eighth Amendment, also welcomed the Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll, saying it represented a further drop in support for the Government’s abortion proposal and increased support for a no vote.

One Family’s parenting tips are available at onefamily.ie/how-to-talk-with-your-child-about-abortion-a-guide-from-one-family/

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