An American anti-abortion group has opened their first pregnancy clinic outside the US, on Great Victoria Street in Belfast.
Stanton Healthcare was founded in 2006 by Brandi Swindell, a Christian, pro-life activist, and has locations in Idaho and California.
New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, co-chairman of the Congressional Bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus, traveled to Northern Ireland to attend the opening of the clinic on Monday. He was also joined by the anti-abortion campaigner Bernadette Smyth, whose group Precious Life is teaming up with the Stanton clinic.
“We have a number of clinics in the States and the value of what Bernadette can offer, you can’t put a price tag on it,” Congressman Smith told reporters.
He described it as a place where women “can find tangible help and very loving individuals to help with their difficulty.”
According to Smyth, the clinic will be “offering women facing unexpected pregnancies life-affirming options and quality healthcare.”
“We believe that women and their unborn children deserve better than abortion. At Stanton, we will provide the best care and practical support for mums to help overcome obstacles in choosing life for her baby,” Smyth told the Irish Times.
The Stanton Healthcare Clinic opened on Great Victoria Street, close to the Marie Stopes Clinic, which offers sexual and reproductive healthcare and early medical abortions.
The Irish Times reported that last year Bernadette Smyth received a 100 hours of community service and a five year restraining order due to charges that she had harassed Dawn Purvis, who was at the time the director of the Marie Stopes Clinic. The sentence against Smyth was later overturned on appeal.
The first Stanton Healthcare Clinic, in Boise, Idaho, opened on the same block as a Planned Parenthood.