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SF senator is a “bully,” claims Senator Sharon Keogan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has been accused of “bullying” after talking over a pro-life woman’s story of her friend’s death.

Speaking in the Seanad this week, Senator Sharon Keogan said there was evidence of the HSE’s MyOptions counsellors urging women to have an abortion, even when the woman was conflicted about the decision.

“It is obvious from the research that My Options is effectively all about abortion and not equipped in any way to talk to women who may wish to explore other options, including keeping their baby,” Keogan said.

“Women and their unborn babies deserve better.”

She went on to tell a personal story about abortion regarding her friend.

“On the 31st of January 1984, one of my childhood friends, Ann Lovett, died with her baby son at a grotto in Granard,” she said. 

“She had moved to Granard after her first year in St. Clare’s convent. Our class was told of the death. 

“Two pupils were chosen to go to the funeral and the rest of us were left to grieve in our own way. I am told I was one of the girls who mitched out of school to hitch a lift to her funeral. I have no memory of that day…

“…The village of Granard is still healing from that tragic loss 38 years later. I often wonder if Ann had options. I am sure she could have aborted her baby but she did not. Today, we are in such a great place for young girls who find themselves pregnant unexpectedly. There are teen support groups -”

At this point, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan interjected: “I actually cannot believe I just heard that.”

“I am sorry, Ann Lovett was a friend of mine,” replied Keogan. 

“I cannot believe that I have to deal with this every single time I get up to speak in this Chamber. I am spoken down to in here every time. It is nothing short of bullying.”

Keogan went on to praise the work of crisis pregnancy support group Gianna Care.

“Gianna Care is also available to help and support young girls who find themselves pregnant,” she said. 

“These options must be given to young girls seeking options from the HSE through the My Options helpline. I am hoping that the HSE, if its representatives are listening in today, will come out strongly stating that the services it is providing give options to those seeking help. If not, maybe they should rename the site “My Option” and not My Options.”

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