Details allegedly leaked of woman who had abortion

Health Minister Simon Harris has ordered an investigation into allegations that the personal information of a woman who had an abortion earlier this week was leaked.

Mr Harris is said to be concerned about the social media allegation, which claims a woman was contacted by a third party to whom she did not provide details, following a termination at a Dublin hospital.

The allegation claims a woman who had an abortion this week was sent home following a scan and told no further scans were needed.

It alleges the woman received a call from a mobile number from a man who knew her name and address, and said she would need to undergo a follow-up scan. This call was allegedly followed by a text giving directions to a premises on the northside of Dublin.

The woman claims that following a call to the hospital, which knew nothing of the appointment, she called the number again and was subjected to verbal abuse for having an abortion.

The woman says she does not know how those behind the call obtained her personal details and said she was sharing the allegation as a warning to other women.

The Irish Examiner has unsuccessfully attempted to make contact with the author of the allegation. This newspaper called the number listed in the social media allegation. A man who answered directed all media queries to a provided email address.

No response to our queries was received at the time of going to press.

The Irish Examiner phoned the number listed in the allegation and was directed to submit our queries in writing to an email address. Both the phone number and provided email address are listed on a website proffering unplanned pregnancy support.

“We send directions to many people who ask to meet us. Perhaps that is where it came from. The allegations are calumny,” read the response.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris said he is “concerned by the allegations raised on social media”. She said: “He has asked the HSE to investigate the alleged breach of patient information.

The minister has been quite clear abortion services should be viewed as a normalised part of the health service, and women accessing that service should not be subjected to any intimidation or harassment.

The HSE said it was not in a position to comment on the case at this time, but warned that unreliable agencies with hidden agendas may be posing as impartial HSE sources of advice, some using variations of ‘Myoptions’ — the HSE’s own name for its unplanned pregnancy support services.

“There are a number of unplanned pregnancy agencies that may have a hidden agenda.

Some unreliable agencies may not be upfront about their intentions and may try to influence a person’s decision. The HSE recommends that people should only visit a recognised or HSE-funded unplanned pregnancy counselling agency.

"If people are looking at information online, look for the HSE logo,” the HSE said.

The HSE urged anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to refer to myoptions.ie, which is part of the HSE website,or the official Myoptions helpline on 1800 828 010 for information and support.

The head of communications at the Data Protection Commissioner’s office said it is aware of the story and is making enquiries.

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