Following weeks of high profile stories, Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has obtained a court order directing the owner of a potentially misleading website to take it down.
The HSE was prompted to act following stories of women being confused and misled when searching online for information about crisis pregnancies and abortions.
The official HSE website, offering information and advice to women experiencing a crisis pregnancy is myoptions.ie. A site with a similar name (myoptions.website) was set up by a Dublin based man Eamonn Murphy. In the days following the launch of the HSE site he registered a number of sites with similar names.
The temporary court order follows a huge amount of publicity around the bogus website and allegations that women were being duped into contacting the wrong organisations when seeking help and abortion information.
The HSE said the websites operated by Eamon Murphy were causing confusion and that they were not offering independent advice but rather they were aimed at convincing women to not go ahead with abortions.
Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds, who noted that the HSE was gravely concerned about Murphy’s websites, granted the temporary order. Murphy was told that if he did not comply with it he could be held in contempt of court.
She said that “quite clear” that Murphy only chose to use the My Options name after the HSE announced the name of its website in what could “only be construed as an attempt to confuse” people. She added that there was a genuine need to deal with the issue urgently.
Murphy, who represented himself in court said he understood the allegations but denied that they were true. He told the court that his crisis pregnancy service has been in operation for more than 20 years under various names.
He revealed that he had filed a complaint with the Garda Commissioner over the fact that babies have "been illegally killed" since 1 January 2019 (when abortion services became legal in Ireland). He also announced his intention to countersue the HSE over the website name, saying the HSE was fake in its intentions.
The case was adjourned for two weeks and, at the time of writing, the website is no longer live.