A Derry pro-Choice has campaigner has said that those protesting against the opening of a Marie Stopes Clinic in Belfast - which will provide medical abortions for women up to nine weeks into their pregnancy - are “denying reality”.
Goretti Horgan of Alliance for Choice said those up in arms about the announcement by the family planning clinic that they are opening in Belfast were denying the “rights of women to life and to be healthy”.
The new private clinic will, among a range of family planning and support services, offer medical abortions to women who meet the stringent legal criteria currently in place in Northern Ireland.
Currently abortions can be carried out only in cases where continuing the pregnancy would have a serious, permanent or long-term effect on the physical or mental health of the woman.
Welcoming the opening of the private clinic, Ms Horgan said: “We would absolutely welcome this move. There have been several occasions in the past where we have had to send quite seriously ill women to England to have abortions - women who are quite clearly entitled to an abortion but who have been unable to get one in their local NHS hospital.”
Ms Horgan said while she welcomed the move, which has been heavily criticised by Pro Life campaigners, she said it did not offer women in Northern Ireland enough choice.
“We should have the same rights and provisions that are laid out under the 1967 abortion act. Women will still have to meet very stringent criteria.”
A spokesperson for Precious Life, an anti abortion organisation yesterday said the group would fight the opening of the Marie Stopes Clinic - which is due to open its doors at the end of next week.
“Our unborn children must be protected from hands of Marie Stopes International, who make millions of pounds every year by killing unborn children.
“Any attempt to start killing unborn children in Northern Ireland will fail. Anyone who kills an unborn child in Northern Ireland is committing an illegal criminal act.
“We remain confident that anyone who tries to perform abortions in Northern Ireland will be brought to justice,” the spokesperson said.