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30 Sept 2022

'Graphic and homophobic' leaflet sent to Mid Ulster constituency office

A local councillor has condemned the leaflet's content.

'Graphic and homophobic' leaflet sent to Mid Ulster constituency office

Mid Ulster SDLP councillors Malachy Quinn and Kerri Martin attended the Mid Ulster Pride celebrations at the weekend in Cookstown.

A Mid Ulster councillor has said receiving a 'graphic and homophobic' leaflet to her local constituency office was 'distressing'.

At the weekend, a leaflet - seen by Derry Now - featuring graphic imagery related to abortion and homophobic messaging was delivered to the SDLP's Mid Ulster constituency office in Cookstown.

The front and back of the leaflet, with the inside contents containing a graphic image.

Local councillor Kerri Martin has called for an end to the leafleting campaign.

"While I absolutely respect people’s right to hold their own view on this issue, it was extremely distressing to receive a leaflet of this nature at our constituency office this week, given the graphic material contained within it," she said.

“Abortion is a very sensitive issue and I’m deeply concerned about the impact these leaflets could have on those who unexpectedly receive them, particularly women.

"We know from experience how traumatising these images can be, especially to those who have previously lost children or struggled to have a child of their own."

The leaflets were delivered to Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone's constituency office in Cookstown.

The leaflets were produced by a group called Abolish Abortion NI, whose website describes them as 'Bible Believing Christians' who wish to 'bring a full and absolute end to abortion in our country'.

However, abortion was not the only subject referenced in the leaflet.

“These leaflets also contained homophobic hate speech and were delivered shortly after the successful Mid Ulster Pride event at the weekend which I and Councillor Malachy Quinn attended," said Cllr Martin.

"There is no place for this kind of language in our society and any attack on our LGBT+ community should be condemned.

"The attempt to conflate these issues is disturbing and I would urge those behind these leaflets to cease this kind of behaviour and advocate their position without attacking or distressing anyone else.”

A spokesperson for Abolish Abortion NI denied claims the leaflet was homophobic.

"There is nothing homophobic about highlighting the hypocrisy of calling for 'freedom' and 'rights' of one person group (LGBT people) while ignoring, or actively participating in, the stripping of human rights from another person group (the pre-born)," they said.

"Since March 2020 over 3500 children have been murdered in Northern Ireland. Given that around 3.1% of the UK's population identify as gay or lesbian it would be fair to assume that approximately 110 of these children would have gone on the be members of the LGBT community.

"Sadly many within the SDLP have supported the murder of these children. We condemn them outright.

"For hundreds of years imagery has been used to highlight injustice and oppression and has played a pivotal role in bringing about the demise of this oppression.

"Abortion is a violent act carried out against an innocent human being. That is why the images are distressing. It must, however, be remembered that for a person to see that image, a child has to be that image.

"If the SDLP feel angry about these images they should direct that anger to ending the oppression that created them in the first place."

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