There are still a number of rogue crisis pregnancy agencies in operation despite a HSE crackdown, it has been claimed.
“We still get clients in who have had experiences with rogue agencies,” said Niall Behan, chief executive of the Irish Family Planning Association.
“There are at least two in Dublin and then there are some pop-ups around the country, that pop up and then disappear. They are run like a hot desk or from someone’s kitchen. They meet them online, they delay meeting and then they go out and meet at a designated place. The tactics are all the same — delay and then misinformation,” he added.
The HSE has increased its spend on Google ads as a way to combat them.
“The rogue agencies put money into paid searches in Google around keywords and terms that those seeking information would use.
“The proactive strategy used by the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme is to appear in position one to position four on Google ad search,” said a spokeswoman for the HSE.
Mr Behan said social media firms carry a responsibility.
“Social media companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter need to recognise that they have a social responsibility not to promote information which is misleading and harmful to pregnant women,” he said.
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