THE sight of anti-abortion posters in areas of Enniskillen has caused anger and upset to those who have seen them, with one poster’s placement very close to a primary school causing particular angst.

The posters – which depict a foetus in the womb with the words, ‘This is a baby’ – have been erected on Dublin Road, Irvinestown Road and Tempo Road, metres from the Model Primary School.

The poster put up outside the primary school was observed being placed by two elderly men on Sunday evening.

One concerned parent who brings their children to the school said he had to “shield” their children from the graphic poster.

“My son spotted it and asked, ‘What is that, daddy?’, and I said, ‘It’s not something you should be looking at’, and put my hand over his eyes and turned him away.

“But the next day as we walked past, I just watched him, and he had his head down – but he glanced up at it.”

The parent wanted to stress that he was not getting into a debate about being pro- or anti-abortion, but was more concerned about the effect such posters could have on young children.

“This ‘shock and awe’ approach, there’s too much collateral damage of young kids, and it’s [that poster] deliberately put outside of a school to be antagonistic, and that is not going to help anybody.

“I’m all for open conversation and open debate, but you’re just going to lose your message by doing that.”

The concerned parent felt this is not the type of conversation children should be involved in, as well as the possible upset it could cause to women who have also seen it.

“It’s not a debate that you need to have children involved in. [Those behind such posters] are doing it in a way I think is very deliberate to start that conversation, and that’s not the way to do it.

“I’m happy to have a conversation with my child when it is age-appropriate, but no matter what I would be talking about, I wouldn’t be showing explicit images to send a message home,” they added.

18-year-old Nadine Curtis, from Enniskillen, also hit out at those who have put the posters up, calling them “backward and unfair”.

She said: “Northern Ireland has finally started to line up with the rest of the UK and Ireland. Women have finally been given a little bit more control over their bodies, even though we aren’t fully providing them with abortion services yet.

“The decriminalisation of abortion made women in Northern Ireland feel as though maybe they were finally being listened to.

“Being pro-choice does not mean you are pro-abortion, it means you believe people can decide for themselves.

“If you claim to be ‘pro-life’, then pro-whose life? Because it’s certainly not the woman’s.”

Alliance representative, Matt Beaumont, has received numerous complaints about the posters since their erection and has contacted the police and the Department of Infrastructure.

“Posters like these are graphic and by their very nature can be deeply upsetting. My thoughts are with anybody that has been through a miscarriage or know somebody that has.

“Nobody needs to have posters like this near schools or hospitals, it helps nobody.”

However, some people support the message on the posters.

One such person, Beulah Elliott, who had no part to play in putting up the images, said the posters are there to educate people that a foetus is a human being and not a “clump of cells”.

She said: “From the moment of conception, a foetus is a baby, just at a very early stage; [it’s] a human being.”

When asked if the poster close to the primary school could be distressing for the young children who have to walk past it every day, Mrs. Elliott responded: “If you were to stop to ask the children ... well, you know, start with the older children and work your way down to the younger ones, and ask them in the presence of their parent or carer, ‘Do you know what this is?’, it’d be interesting to know if they would be able to tell you.

“[It would be interesting] if there’s anything wrong with telling them, ‘Well, that’s a baby in mummy’s tummy’.

“I think a lot of children nowadays can cope with [this] quite easily. It’s the folks who want to promote abortion, who don’t want to talk about [such imagery] being a baby.

“They want to call it ‘a product of conception’, or ‘a foetus’, or whatever; they want to dehumanise it.”

Both the PSNI and Department of Infrastructure (DfI) confirmed they had received complaints about the posters, but police said no action would be taken as they did not constitute a criminal offence and DfI said they were not a risk to health and safety.