Last week after a woman who underwent a medical abortion was contacted by an anti-abortion campaigner claiming to be from a counselling service, the HSE issued a warning to remind people when they are seeking advice to make sure they are dealing with official services.
This week the HSE have lodged a complaint with Google as they have revealed that they have been forced to increase advertising spend to stop fake websites getting the top results on the popular search engine.
Following the outcome of the 8th Amendment vote, the HSE set-up the “myoptions” website to offer impartial advice to women dealing with unplanned pregnancy. Yesterday, the top search result on Google for the search query “My Options” was for a site called “myoptions.website” which is managed by an anti-abortion group. Duped into thinking they are receiving impartial advice on the on their pregnancy, the website homepage simply offers visitors a "089" number for website visitors to call to discuss their unplanned pregnancy. Once callers ring the number provided they are then shamed into even considering abortion as an option.
When you move through the website it becomes more apparent that the website is managed by anti-abortion campaigners. The blog page brings you to a video which claims to link abortion to cancer. It also becomes clearer that this is not an Irish based website, it is an American website purposely created to target visitors to the HSE "My Options" website.
As of today, the fraudulent website has dropped to 7th rank position on Google but still features on the first page.
This isn't the first time there have been issues surrounding Google advertising spend and anti-abortion campaigners. In May of last year during the referendum, Google suspended any advertisements relating to the Eight Amendment referendum.
For anyone who is seeking impartial advice, you can follow the link to the correct HSE My Options website here.