|Type||Social Conservative and Pro Life lobby group|
|Spokesperson||Niamh Uí Bhriain
Íde Nic Mhatúna
Youth Defence is an Irish organisation that opposes legalisation of abortion. It was founded after the 1992 X case established abortion rights in the case of the mother's life being at risk. It shares offices with closely aligned Catholic Eurosceptic group Cóir.
The organisation was founded in 1992 by a group of seven anti-abortion activists including Peter Scully, Niamh Nic Mhathúna, her sister Una Bean Nic Mhatúna, and Una's husband Seamus Mhatúna. Far-right Irish nationalist Justin Barrett is a former leader of the group.
In 1997 Youth Defence picketed the home of Róisín Shortall and in 1999 the group the home of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Both events generated negative publicity, including complaints of intimidation by protestors from neighbours of Róisín Shortall. Archbishop Desmond Connell has kept his distance from the group, criticising its "American-style tactics".
2012 anti-abortion campaign
In June 2012 Youth Defence began their "Abortion tears her life apart" campaign. This campaign consisted of billboard signs, posters, and many members of the group handing out flyers. The campaign was across many cities in Ireland.
Pro-choice users of the website Broadsheet.ie encouraged supporters to call upon advertising companies to pull the adverts, saying that the text used misinformation. Legal scholar and Labour Senator Ivana Bacik criticised Youth Defence's decision to show an 18-week-old aborted fetus on the billboard, "although 89 per cent of abortions take place before 13 weeks. The advertisements are grossly offensive." TheJournal.ie later alleged that Youth Defence had breached copyright terms and conditions in using an image of a woman depicted on the posters, by failing to print a disclaimer that the billboard showed a posed model.
On 6 December 2012, Youth Defence organised a "vigil for life" outside Leinster House in Dublin that was attended by several thousand people. They were also involved in the "rally for life" which took part in July 2013. Organisers had claimed that 60,000 people took part, though the police estimated that there were 35,000 participants. 
Billboard parked outside Rape Crisis Centre
On 27 June 2013, a Youth Defence billboard truck parked outside the Dublin Rape Crisis centre. A photo of the truck was posted to John Ryan's Broadsheet.ie website, sparking outrage online. AdMobile, the billboard company, said that the driver was taking a photograph of the truck as required by contract and was unaware of the nearness of the rape crisis centre. AdMobile also said they would no longer run ads for Youth Defence. Youth Defence stated they did not instruct the company to photograph the billboard outside the rape crisis centre.
Website hacking incident
On 9 July 2013, Youth Defence's website was hacked and replaced with a message detailing allegations relating to the group. At the same time, details from their subscriber list were also published, though they were later removed. No organization has claimed responsibility and a representative of Youth Defence has stated that complaints have been made to the Garda Síochána.
The Irish Times reported in March 2013 that the Standards in Public Office Commission has been attempting to investigate Youth Defense's sources of funding, but that the organisation has thus far refused to cooperate. By law, any organisation involved in political lobbying must declare all donations over €100, can only accept donations of up to €2,500, and cannot accept donations from overseas unless the donor is an Irish citizen or from a corporation that has offices in Ireland.
- "Young Bloods: The Nic Mhatúna Sisters". The Phoenix (magazine). 27 July 2012.
- Millar, Scott (12 January 2010). "Irish far right groups remain on the margins of political life". Irish Examiner. "...former Youth Defence leader, Justin Barrett."
- Killilea, Gayle (7 October 2001). "The man wired to fight abortion". Independent.ie. "...Justin Barrett, Youth Defence's chief spokesman and mastermind."
- Sheehan, Aideen (18 September 1999). "Anti-abortion group picket Ahern's home". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- "Residents terrified by Youth Defence protest". Irish Independent. 5 December 1997. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- "Youth Defence". Youthdefence.ie. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "Have You Got A Minute?". Broadsheet.ie. 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "Senator's criticism of abortion ads an 'odious abuse of taxpayer-funded privilege'". The Journal (Dublin). 28 June 2012.
- "Youth Defence under investigation over use of image in anti-abortion campaign". thejournal.ie. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- Thousands attend "Vigil for life" at Leinster House, RTÉ News, 6 December 2012
- Thousands rally over abortion law in Dublin, RTÉ News, 7 July 2012
- "Billboard company discontinues Youth Defence campaign after Rape Crisis Centre incident". TheJournal.ie. 27 June 2013.
- "Youth Defence website hacked". TheJournal.ie. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Ó Caollaí, Éanna (9 July 2013). "Website of anti-abortion group Youth Defence hacked". Irish Times. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "Youth Defence's website has been hacked". Silicon Republic. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Neylon, Michele (9 July 2013). "Youth Defence Site Hacked". technology.ie. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "Anti-abortion groups ignored political watchdog queries". The Irish Times (Dublin). 2 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-03.