Health minister 'sickened' over claims by Dublin pregnancy counselling centre

An undercover reporter was told: "You will be at breast cancer risk"

Health minister 'sickened' over claims by Dublin pregnancy counselling centre

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he feels "a bit sickened" about information being given out at an Irish pregnancy counselling centre.

Mr Harris was responding to footage showing a Dublin-based centre advising an undercover reporter that terminations can lead to breast cancer, and turn a woman into a child abuser.

He said he would consider introducing regulations to ensure women are provided with factual information about their reproductive choices.  

The centre in question is said to advertise itself as an impartial source of advice for women who want to travel to Britain to end their pregnancies.

The facility - which says it has other clinics in Cork, Galway, Sligo, London and Bristol - claims to have helped thousands of women over the last 20 years.

A reporter with The Times Ireland, who indicated that she wanted an abortion, was shown pictures of aborted foetuses during an undercover visit to the centre.

In this clip, a counsellor and the reporter discuss an alleged link between cancer and terminations.

Audio contains some graphic content 

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Minister Harris said he wanted "an urgent update" on the situation.

"I'm extraordinarily concerned. I actually feel a bit sickened from what I read," he told reporters. 

Minister Harris added: "I would consider every policy option to ensure women are presenting with factual, accurate information about their own health ... including regulation."

Ellen Coyne of The Times Ireland, which published the story, earlier told Newstalk Breakfast: "The reporter was very clear that she was somebody who had already made up her mind... so she was somebody who was specifically seeking information on how do I access an abortion, how do I get over there, how much will it cost - so she wasn't somebody who was still kind of open to persuasion.

"When it was advertised online, it specifically went to a great effort to say that it was an objective source - and actually it said that other agencies wouldn't have her best interests at heart.

"It went to a lot of effort to position itself as an organisation that was objective, unbiased and had her best interests at heart."

Consultant obstetrician Peter Boylan has heavily disputed the claims made by the clinic.

"We've certainly come across loads of women who had a termination in the past, and it hasn't affected them at all in any way - physically or mentally - and for many of them it's absolutely the right thing to do in their particular circumstances," he told Newstalk Breakfast

"It's a decision for the woman herself to make. What these agencies are doing is just trying to scare them out of having a termination of pregnancy."

See the full undercover video below: