Anti-abortion activist launches new website following injunction

Campaigner’s previous site was alleged to be confusingly similar to HSE crisis pregnancy hub

 Eamonn Murphy at the Four Courts after the HSE  secured a High Court order against his website. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Eamonn Murphy at the Four Courts after the HSE secured a High Court order against his website. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

An anti-abortion activist has insisted that a new website he has launched is not covered by a High Court injunction secured against him for a separate site which was alleged to be confusingly similar to the official HSE crisis pregnancy service offering.

The site, myabortionchoices.com, is similar in design and content to another site run by Eamonn Murphy, which was the subject of the injunction sought by the health service last week.

The HSE secured the temporary injunction having argued that Mr Murphy’s site was trying to convince women not to go ahead with abortions, or berating those who had chosen to undergo an abortion.

The health service claimed in court that Mr Murphy’s actions are not a coincidence and are leading to substantial confusion, as well as damaging the goodwill and reputation of the HSE’s service. Mr Murphy denied any wrongdoing and opposed the granting of an injunction.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Mr Murphy said his new website, which he launched after the High Court decision, is not covered by the injunction as it does not have the phrase “MyOptions”.

Removed

He said he had removed the “MyOptions” website address and several others following the ruling.

“I’ve had a few similar names but they’ve all been taken down,” he said. “I will be doing anything the court orders me to do.”

Of his new site, he said: “It didn’t come under the order because we always keep the law. We’re law-abiding. Anything else was taken down as instructed,” he said.

When it was put to Mr Murphy that the two websites contained substantially the same information, he said that there was “no censorship of information” and repeated that “the words MyOptions don’t occur”.

“The court order referred to anything with the words ‘MyOptions’ – do those words occur in that website? No.”

Separately, Minister for Health Simon Harris has described the behaviour of a US anti-abortion group who are planning to train people in Ireland to intercept women before they access abortion services as chilling, manipulative and “deeply disrespectful of our democratic process”.

Mr Harris was reacting to an undercover investigation into Sidewalk Advocates for Life (SAFL).

The investigation, by the Times Ireland edition, found the US organisation trains campaigners to wait in hospital car parks to target couples who have received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality to talk them out of having an abortion.

Undercover reporter

An undercover reporter was told to pose as a woman looking for abortion services as a way to identify doctors performing terminations.

“We had a referendum in this country, the people of this country had their say and voted in overwhelming numbers to care for women here in our own country,” Mr Harris said on Monday.

“The idea that anybody, but particularly outside groups, would be trying to undermine our democratic decision and effectively in my view harass and intimidate Irish women is something that’s quite despicable.”

Mr Harris said legislation to provide for safe zones, which would prohibit demonstrations within certain radius of hospitals or clinics offering abortion services, is a “priority” and hopes it will be in place later this year.

Mr Harris said he found it “saddening” that such legislation had to be introduced but added, “it is clear there are people who will continue to disrespect our democracy”.

In a statement, SAFL said it was a law-abiding organisation that teaches others how to “lovingly and peacefully reach out to women at abortion centres, offering them non-violent solutions to their crisis situation”.