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Pro-life group recruits Swedish children: report

Published: 13 Jul 2011 15:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2011 15:57 GMT+02:00

Anti-abortionists from the youth movement "Älska livet"(literally “Love life”), the youth branch of pro-life organisation "Ja till livet" ("Yes to Life"), are recruiting children by asking them to sign a petition to get a glass of juice, according to details in a report in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

“The children had no idea that they were becoming members. It is deeply immoral to recruit members that are not aware,” said Eivor Johnsson, mother of a 13-year-old who was almost recruited by the group, to DN.

Johnsson’s son only escaped the recruiters when he phoned his mother to find out the last four digits of his personal identity number, given to all Swedish citizens at birth, which the recruiters had asked for.

When Johnsson contacted the chairperson for the movement, Emelie Litsgård, she was told “this is how we operate”. Litsgård also argued that all the children were aware that they were joining the anti-abortion movement.

“But they weren’t, I know that,” said Johnsson who told DN that she knows of at least four children who were recruited by the group.

She pointed out that as the group issues no form of proof of membership, the parents of the kids never find out and subsequently can’t do anything about it. She also questioned how much of the message a twelve-year-old could really grasp.

But according to Litsgård, the recruiters are very clear with the information to the new members. Also, the leaflet handed out is aimed at young people and is written in simple terms that everyone can understand.

“And the form says very clearly that it pertains to membership for a year,” Litsgård wrote in an email to DN.

Litsgård also told DN that very few of the group’s members are under the age of 13, as their campaign is aimed at teens between 13 and 18. And she is adamant that the recruited members are aware of what they are signing.

“We ask much more on our membership applications than the Swedish National Board of Youth Affairs (Ungdomsstyrelsen) requires, as we demand both personal identity number and signature,” Litsgård wrote to DN.

Johnsson, however, is not satisfied with this. According to the DN report, she suspects that the organisation recruits kids this way in order to get higher subsidies from the government.

Membership numbers is one of the factors that determine how large a subsidy an organisation will receive.

During 2011, "Älska livet" will receive over 1 million kronor ($153,340) in government grants and subsidies.

Litsgård later wrote an email to The Local in which she reiterated what she had earlier said to DN - that all recruitment forms show clearly that it is a year’s membership that they sign up for, that all those who have signed up are aware that they have joined. Furthermore she claimed that the group aims their campaign at children over 13 but that they won’t turn away anyone younger- which is in line with the regulations from the Swedish National Board of Youth Affairs.

She also added that the organisation is one of many that receives subsidies from the government.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:27 July 13, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
I too think this groups recruitment methods are wrong. It is too bad they have to lie about it.

Most interesting to me about this whole abortion debate is how the most forceful groups against abortion are christian religious groups despite the fact that the Bible says NOTHING about abortion. In fact if I read it right, it seem that the Bible does not even recognize the rights of new borns until they have lived at least 1 month.
20:22 July 13, 2011 by calebian22
"Though shall not kill," pretty much covers it DamnImmigrant.
22:01 July 13, 2011 by The Grand Master
I don't think abortion should be used as a form of late contraception but in the end it is down to the woman involved. It is her right to choose. These nutjobs just want to impose their will on everybody by claiming moral superiority over the rest of us.

Forcing their wacko beliefs down children's throats is way out of order.

Individual choice and freedom is the most basic part of a free and fair society. If these people are so against abortion then fair enough, they don't have to have terminations themselves.
22:16 July 13, 2011 by jostein
I think that the bruhahaha some people stirr up about this might disturb these kids more than the signing itself. Seriously, a kid signs some petition and gets a free soda? So what? And a great boon is that when these dimwits try to use their list they expose exactly what sort of people they are.
00:03 July 14, 2011 by Da Goat
These dim wits seem to forget that by promoting a right you are also promoting the counter-right (pro-lifers promoting live with dignity are also promoting die with dignity) it is not possible to pick and choose a single sided right!

Christians (and I am one) forget that God is pro choice and then pro life, He does not force anything on anybody!. God is a choose life person, not a hard liner either way so we should logically follow!
02:21 July 14, 2011 by repat_xpat
How is this different than the schools teaching that abortion is simply a personal choice of the woman and has no moral implications? Its interesting that one tact is educating children and the other is "Forcing their wacko beliefs down children's throats."

I agree with Grand Master, that forcing wacko beliefs down children's throats is way out of order, but I may disagree with what are considered "wacko" beliefs. If its a baby at conception, then wouldn't killing it for convenience could be a wacko thing to do? Is it possible that the conventional wisdom is wrong?
03:07 July 14, 2011 by colombianska_tjej
Personally, I think anortion is a subject that can be decided only by the woman. But cannot help but notice that some of the people promoting "life" are concerned only with the right of the baby to live, but usually say nothing about the life quality that is waiting for the baby to be born. In Sweden this is not such a big deal, but in third world countries, when the mother has other 6 kids and no job...they do nothing

Well, just something that bothers me, obviously people can disagree with this :)
09:36 July 14, 2011 by ooh456
I cant believe the government sends my tax money to these ass clowns.
10:28 July 14, 2011 by engagebrain
20:22 July 13, 2011 by calebian22 "Though shall not kill," pretty much covers it DamnImmigrant.

The bible has plenty of killing that is not condemned, God even wipes out Jobe's family as a demonstration of .........who knows what
21:42 July 14, 2011 by cutthecrap
Abortion = Individual choice of the lady concerned,
01:36 July 15, 2011 by repat_xpat
If killing the child isn't an issue, perhaps we should wait until we see what kind of child it will be?

When life isn't the issue, the issue is only the time frame when it is legal. Perhaps abortion should be legal only from 14-18 years. That way the mother will know she is not making a mistake.
18:21 July 15, 2011 by Raiha
Years ago I was walking with my sister who was 11 at the time and we happened to go past an abortion clinic. There were five pro-lifers (all old men) protesting outside with pamphlets showing pictures of dead foetuses. They ignored me (I was 19) and targeted her. I was utterly disgusted with their behaviour.

Recruiting children is unethical, particularly when they are enticing/bribing with free drinks. What questions do they ask? Things like 'sign this petition if you disagree with babies being ripped apart and killed?' Who WOULDN'T sign this? How can you couch abortion in child friendly language? You CANNOT. I am sure they do not ask 'If you were brutally raped... If your father was having sex with you... If you were living on the streets..." This is a complex, individual, case-by-case issue and cannot be 'sanitised' for children unless there is a nefarious agenda behind it.

And all of this achieved without parental knowledge or consent? Disgusting. Not to mention the gathering of personal information that can easily be sold.
22:25 July 15, 2011 by Englishted
21:42 July 14, 2011 by cutthecrap

Abortion = Individual choice of the lady concerned,

Short and to the point and for me correct.
14:03 July 17, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
@calebian22 - "Though shall not kill," pretty much covers it DamnImmigrant.

calebian22, don't you mean "Thou shall not MURDER"?

That said, calebian22, your quote does NOT EVEN COME CLOSE to "COVERING IT"!

To "murder" someone, they have to have been born. I believe this to be a FACT.

If it is your OPINION that life begins at conception, then yes "YOU" would view it as murder - but science, the Bible, society, and even other belief systems ALL do not agree with you. You would IMPOSE your OPINION on all these other people?

As I said, the Bible says nothing about abortion being murder. I find it interesting that the anti-abortion group will claim it is a religious directive to save these "souls". Yet the Bible does not even say when the "soul" enters the body. I have seen the reference of the soul entering the body on the first breath, "the breath of life", and I have seen religious fundamentalists trying to argue the soul being created at conception - but the Bible says nothing definitive. This is assuming that we even have a soul!

Frankly, I do not care what the Bible says because there are so many other religious beliefs not to mention non-religious beliefs.

The fact that these anti-abortion religious nut-jobs think that women do not agonize over such a decision shows the depth of their ignorance of abortion. If a woman chooses to get an abortion, there IS a reason for it and NO-ONE has a right to interfere with her choice.

repat_xpat, abortion IS "simply a personal choice of the woman" so the schools are teaching FACT.

I am not aware that Swedish schools teach that there are "no moral implications". You just made that up right? I have heard they mention what an agonizing decision it is for the woman.

For that matter, what "MORAL" implications are you referring to? If it is religiously based morality, then YES, the schools should NOT be talking about "the moral implications". If you are talking about the agony that the woman has to go through to arrive at this decision, then YES, there are some moral implications.

As colombianska_tjej pointed out, what about discussing the moral implication of NOT ABORTING?

As for signing up people without their knowledge - (American immigration questions) - Have you ever been a member of the Communist part or ever joined a radical organization? -- No I have not. -- Then why is your name on this membership list? -- Um, because they were offering free drinks?
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