HSE 'in a constant battle' with rogue pregnancy agencies

A new bill is being brought in to regulate counsellors and psychotherapists

The Health Service Executive (HSE) says it is in a constant battle with rogue pregnancy agencies over misinformation.

The Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment has heard from representatives for the health authority's sexual health and crisis pregnancy programme.

Janice Dolan said it is having difficulty trying counter false information given to vulnerable women.

She said rogue agencies are increasing their spend on paid Google adverts, to ensure their advice appears first in the search engine.

Speaking in the Dáil on a bill that would regulate counsellors and psychotherapists, Health Minister Simon Harris said: "All Deputies raised the idea of people going around calling themselves counsellors and psychotherapists and giving out at best extraordinarily dubious, and at worst very dangerous and simply untrue advice on crisis pregnancy.

"I accept that, for good reasons, the legislation provides that implementing proposals to regulate new professions involves a detailed journey but I think Deputies will agree we have made a good start.

"I trust and hope that this bill can now proceed to the Seanad with a view to enactment by the end of the year."