Friday 22 March 2019

Anti-abortion activist told he risks prison if site is not taken down

Told to comply: Eamonn Murphy was told to shut down his website. Picture: Collins
Told to comply: Eamonn Murphy was told to shut down his website. Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

An anti-abortion activist has been warned he could end up in jail if he does not comply with a court order to take down a website with a similar name to the HSE's 'My Options' unplanned pregnancy advice service.

The HSE secured the High Court order against Eamonn Murphy after alleging his website was misleading members of the public into thinking it provided objective counselling and information services.

In an affidavit, a senior HSE official also alleged the website gave the misleading impression Mr Murphy was offering services connected with the HSE.

Granting the order, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds told Mr Murphy that if he did not comply, he could be held in contempt of court and face incarceration.

He must now shut down the website and other similarly named ones he owns or controls until further order of the court. The judge adjourned proceedings for two weeks so Mr Murphy can get legal advice and file an affidavit responding to the claims.

The HSE alleges Mr Murphy has been inappropriately offering women scans and contacting women who have had a termination.

In an affidavit, programme lead Helen Deely said she believed "the very raison d'etre" of Mr Murphy's website was "to confuse women" looking to avail of HSE services into contacting him.

"Thereafter the defendant intends to influence those contacting him not to have a termination," she said.

The affidavit said a woman was verbally abused on January 30 after receiving a call from the number advertised on Mr Murphy's website.

"The man on the phone said he knew where she lived and that she had a termination on Monday in Holles Street, which she had," said Ms Deely.

The court heard Mr Murphy has been operating a service for 20 years under various names, including the Women's Council Network.

But within three days of the Health Minister announcing the launch of the HSE's 'My Options' service and website last December, he began registering a number of websites with similar names.

Mr Murphy said he understood the allegations, but denied they were true. He said he wished to make a counter claim and alleged women were not getting objective advice from the HSE. He also said "babies have been illegally killed" since January 1, and that he had made a complaint to the Garda Commissioner.

Irish Independent

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