The Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has accused the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of trying to suppress the "dark side of abortion" in order to promote the repeal of the Constitution's restriction on terminations.

The claim was made in a statement coinciding with a protest outside the British Embassy in Dublin marking the 50th anniversary of the introduction of legalised abortion in Britain.

The PLC's Dr Ruth Cullen said that when the 1967 Abortion Act was passed at Westminster, nobody envisaged that it would lead to a situation where one in every five pregnancies is now aborted and where 200,000 abortions take place every year.

"What it proves is that there is no such thing as 'restrictive' abortion," she said.

She highlighted this week's finding by an independent watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, in England, that the abortion provider Marie Stopes was giving bonuses to staff members who persuaded women to go through with abortions. 

She said the report quoted staff at one clinic as describing the facility as a "cattle market" with a "very target-driven culture".

The PLC spokeswoman said there had been evidence for years that abortion clinics operate like conveyor belts, trying to hit daily targets for the number of abortions performed.

"In the debate on abortion in Ireland at present, a noticeable effort is being made to suppress stories about the dark side of abortion in order to smoothly pave the way for repeal of the Eighth Amendment," Dr Cullen said.

"Regrettably, the Oireachtas Committee is leading the way in keeping this information under wraps.  In turn, this is doing a huge disservice to women and their unborn babies," she warned.

Dr Cullen said today's anniversary is a time for everyone to reflect on the enormity of what legalised abortion involves and the impact it has on society and for the right to life.