The state-run health service in the Republic of Ireland has been spending taxpayer money on advertising its abortion referral service and paying Google to ensure that its own abortion-referral services outperform other pro-life pregnancy services that focus on offering alternatives to abortion.
In recent replies to Parliamentary Questions reported by Irish pro-life organisation the Pro Life Campaign, it has been admitted that, since the practice was made legal in Ireland in 2018, almost €1 million [$1,066,769.08 in US dollars] has been spent by the Health Service Executive (HSE) – Ireland’s publicly funded healthcare system – on advertising their abortion-referral service.
Eilís Mulroy, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson, said “It is shocking that money is continually shovelled into the pro-abortion agency MyOptions, whilst not a red cent is spent on providing women with positive supports and alternatives to abortion.”
In a separate question to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, the Minister, revealed that the HSE is ensuring that ‘MyOptions’ appears at the top of the internet search engine, Google, by automatically outbidding any pro-life websites that offer alternatives to abortion.
The Minister said “[T]he HSE are monitoring any competitors and have set a bid management strategy to automatically increase their bids if another website appears ahead of theirs.”
During the same answer, he referred to sites that offer alternatives to abortion as “disingenuous”.
Commenting on Donnelly’s response, Eilís Mulroy said “The revelation that the HSE has set up a management strategy for MyOptions on search engines to automatically outbid any websites which offer alternative options to abortion points to how the government’s agenda is clearly to promote abortion as a one-track option.”
She added, “The Minister even admits the government has collaborated with Google to promote MyOptions and suppress organisations which offer support to women in unplanned pregnancies.”
Mulroy also described the Minister’s accusation that such organisations are “disingenuous” as “unfair”.
Deputy Carol Nolan said “The fact that the HSE has incurred costs of almost €1 million to advance the abortion agenda while leaving the promotion of positive life affirming alternatives to wither in silent media obscurity says it all. The message of death gets a government sponsored loudspeaker. The message of life is muzzled and muted. Where is the justice in that for unborn children and the women who are crying out for help to keep their babies?”
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Over 20,000 abortions have occurred in Ireland since the practice was made legal in 2018. To add to this, it appears the Irish state is ensuring that fewer people find out about alternatives to abortion.”