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Left Archive: “Before you make up your mind” – Secondary Schools Leaflet on Abortion from the Socialist Workers Movement, 1992 December 3, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Socialist Workers' Movement.



To download the above file please click on the following link: SWM A4 leaflet

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this short but apposite document to the Archive. They give some background detail below.

This leaflet dates from March/April 1992. In the aftermath of the ‘X’ case and the big mobilisations demanding the teenage rape victim be allowed travel to Britain, abortion was back on the political landscape. The SWM had been active in many of the protests and there was a feeling that the issue would continue to be important and that there was likely to be a backlash from the Catholic right. Going by the experience of the 1980s it was thought likely that the ‘pro-lifers’ would mobilise in the schools and use their connections to get anti-choice videos shown, guest lecturers from SPUC [Society for the Protection of Unborn Children] into classes etc. The SWM had a couple of contacts who were school students so we decided to draw up a leaflet specifically aimed at them, with the idea that where we had a contact they would distribute the leaflet inside their school and hopefully get some of their mates to do the same: and we would also leaflet some schools from outside.

While recruiting new members was obviously never far from our agenda, this leaflet was primarily aimed at countering the right, and the SWM aspect was kept fairly low key. The leaflet was drawn up and about 5,000 printed (in red ink, because we were out of black I think) and was ready to go.

I drew up a list of schools in various areas- it there was a good response we were going to print more. A few young comrades were agreeable to doing the outside the gate leafleting (I was aware that anyone over the age of 20 might look a bit odd standing at a school gate) and then…the leaflets stayed in their boxes for weeks, as SWM attention deficit disorder took its usual course. By the time May came around I was told the leaflets were no longer a priority and by that stage the school year was nearly finished. I’ve no idea where the leaflets ended up, but they were never distributed. This one, however, I found cleaning out the shed a few weeks ago.


1. “Before you make up your mind”- Secondary Schools Leaflet on Abortion from the Socialist Workers Movement 1992 « Irish Election Literature - December 3, 2012

[…]   […]


2. Red Hand - December 3, 2012

Is the Fianna Fail reference to Des Hanafin who was a prominent member of the Pro-Life campaign?
How common was the showing of anti-abortion films etc in schools?


Starkadder - December 6, 2012

I remember seeing one in our RC school in Cork. It showed two
women discussing their crisis pregnancies.The one who had
an abortion had her face blacked out, and was shown as
traumatised by her experience. The other woman was shown
as having kept her child, and was depicted as happy and
pleased by her decision. There was no Father Paul Marx -style
grue in it, or extremist statements in it-the film was obviously a product of the mainstream RC anti-abortion movement.


3. The Weekly Archive Worker: We Must all March Hand in Hand « Entdinglichung - December 6, 2012

[…] Socialist Workers Movement: Before you make up your mind […]


4. Joe - December 6, 2012

The Christian Brothers in O’Connells Schools subjected us to a gruesome film on abortion in the seventies. I presume it was part of that Father Marx campaign that people reference. I distinctly remember a chap in front of me, standing up in mid-film, and falling over a chair as he fainted. I think several lads fainted, can’t remember anyone being sick.
I took a similar approach to the film as I took to Mass at the time – daydreamed my way through it, separated it from reality. It didn’t affect me the way it affected some of the other lads.
Wonder was SoS there for that?


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