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Precious Life organiser Jim Dowson
"I don't think this will affect Precious Life"
 real 28k

Monday, 6 December, 1999, 09:23 GMT
Anti-abortionist resigns from job
Anti-abortion poster The anti-abortion campaign has come in for criticism

The leader of the controversial anti-abortion group Precious Life is reported to have quit his job because of his views.

Jim Dowson, 33, who has admitted previous involvement with hard-line loyalist groups in the west of Scotland, was told he should curb his activities or face dismissal.

He is said to have decided to resign from his 23,000 a year job as a sales manager for a catering firm.

The Catholic Church in Scotland has moved to distance itself from Mr Dowson and his group.

But he said reports that he had links with supporters of terrorist organisations did not effectively mean the group's anti-abortion campaign would be harmed.

Jim Dowson Jim Dowson: "Murky past"
He said: "I don't think it will affect Precious Life, because I think the press and the media generally has thrown everything they possibly could at us and I think this is just another shot across our bows in a long line of things.

"We're about saving the 12,000 babies a year that are murdered in Scotland - that's what we're about and nothing else."

Mr Dowson was reported to have been the organiser of a flute band in Cumbernauld which recorded a tape in honour of Ulster Freedom Fighter member Michael Stone.

Stone was jailed for attacking a Republican funeral in west Belfast, throwing hand grenades and firing at the mourners, including women and children. Three people were killed.

Mr Dowson said he had not seen the media reports, which he believed were based on "flimsy evidence".

However, he added: "I have made no secret from the very beginning of my very, very murky past but I am a committed Christian now and certainly nobody has got any more respect for human life than myself.

'Gravely insulting'

"But I think it's also gravely insulting that the press in Scotland would automatically label tens of thousands of young Protestants as terror supporters because they would be in flute bands."

Precious Life, which began its campaign in Ireland and recently launched in Scotland, has been accused of employing intimidatory tactics in an attempt to get its message across - allegations strongly denied by Mr Dowson.

Last month, it used pictures of aborted foetuses to promote its message and forced the day-long closure of a Brook Advisory Clinic in Edinburgh.

Susan Deacon Susan Deacon: Stern warning
The allegations against it prompted Scottish Health Minister Susan Deacon to issue a strong "back off" warning last week.

Ms Deacon said she would not hesitate to use the full force of the law if campaigners were found to have overstepped the mark.

Cardinal Thomas Winning, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has already expressed reservations about Precious Life's campaign.

Reacting to the latest reports, he said: "If the most recent revelations about Mr Dowson prove to be true then they are deeply disturbing.

"I would think any Catholic who might have felt sympathy for his organisation will now be convinced to steer clear.
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See also:
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