A pro-choice group campaigning for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment have said that they are "disheartened and frustrated" that pro-life protesters displayed posters claiming to show graphic images of aborted babies at their event in Co. Waterford on Wednesday.
The group, called Parents Together for Yes, held their coffee morning at their local GAA centre in Tramore when pro-life protesters displayed the posters while taking photos of parents and children attending.
Tramore mother, Jac Sinnott, a member of Parents Together for Yes, said: “These coffee mornings are family events where we can bring our children, so we as parents can talk and inform ourselves about why we’re voting yes.
"We were shaken to find a small group of pro-life protesters at the GAA centre, targeting us together with our children.
"There was no consideration at all for the fact that some of our children were very upset by these graphic, inaccurate images. They were taking photos of us and our children which felt very intrusive."
Spokesperson for Parents Together for Yes, Sinéad Redmond, said the actions will not stop the group from continuing their work.
Ms Redmond said: “One in two women who need abortion care are already mothers - we won’t be forced out of this debate.
"We campaign because we want a more caring and compassionate Ireland for ourselves and for our children.
“Having our event for families targeted with upsetting, inaccurate images feels intimidating and silencing. Open discussion is a cornerstone of democracy.”
Anti-abortion posters claiming to show graphic images of aborted babies that were displayed in Waterford city have been described as “distressing.”
The images are being used as part of protests by Pro-Life campaigners.
Speaking on WLRFM's 'Deise Today', parent Martina Collender told Eamon Keane, parents for choice were having a coffee morning in Tramore, Co. Waterford, which was designed for parents to bring their small children to talk about the abortion issue.
According to Ms Collender, these “distressing” images were displayed at the front gate as little children were brought in, and as a result, the young children became very upset.
The large posters claiming to show images of aborted babies were also later displayed outside University Hospital Waterford (UHW).
Ms Collender said: “I have seen these images without warning popping up all over the city and it’s very difficult to believe these are allowed.
“These are very gruesome images of unborn children, they're incredibly graphic and very upsetting.”
According to a number of attendees at the event, it is alleged that a number of Pro-Life protestors were taking pictures and videos of parents arriving at the coffee morning with their children.
Ms Collender believes that these groups can make their point without resorting to these graphic images.
People Before Profit member and campaigner Una Dunphy, who also attended the coffee morning, said: “I saw them [pro-life protestors] setting up outside and was pretty much aware of what they do and how their tactics play out.”
According to Ms Dunphy, one parent was so upset that her children were being photographed that she made sure organisers got in touch with Gardaí.
Waterford City and County Councillor Jason Murphy said that he could only imagine the distress that these images have caused.
“I wouldn’t engage in shock tactics because I don’t think there is any need to engage in shock tactics, let’s make the argument in a very reasoned and measured way.” said Cllr Murphy.