Pro-Life groups ‘smeared’ by Irish Times

Family & Life group is considering legal action

The Family & Life group is considering legal action against The Irish Times for defamation, The Irish Catholic understands.

The move comes following an article in the newspaper last weekend which appeared to link both Family & Life and the Life Institute to a claim during a pro-life schools event that ‘rape victims cannot get pregnant’.

In the opening paragraph of the Times piece, its author Peter McGuire wrote: "A rape victim can’t become pregnant. Abortion damages a woman’s internal organs. Abortion destroys a woman’s mental health. These are among the messages that have been given to secondary-school students in Ireland by teachers and outside agencies such as Life Pregnancy Care and Family & Life.”

However, The Irish Times features editor, Conor Goodman, subsequently admitted that the "rape comment came from teacher not an outside group". This admission was made in a tweet from Mr Goodman which attempted to diffuse the row by pointing out that the original article covered both teachers and outside groups, though the same article made no later attempt to link individuals to the respective claims.

In a statement released by the Life Institute in the wake of the row, the group’s Niamh Uí Bhriain said the article’s opening paragraph had been “shocking” and “crass” and “clearly sought to manipulate Irish Times readers”. Further, she said: “Goodman's claim that the article 'made it clear that the piece covered teachers and outside groups', did not stand up to scrutiny”.
"Any credibility The Irish Times had on the abortion issue has, of course, been seriously undermined by the recent debacle in getting the facts horribly wrong on Ireland's 'first abortion'," she said. "Now it seems it is also a paper which smears pro-life groups and suggests false associations to further an agenda.”