Pro-life campaigners have announced that they will seek to shut down the first abortion clinic on the island of Ireland, Marie Stopes Clinic, in Belfast.
Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign and Senator Ronan Mullen in Dublin have said the assembly in Northern Ireland will shut it down.
The clinic, on Great Victoria Street in the city center, is set to open next Thursday. The clinic have confirmed that women in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland have contacted them seeking abortions already.
Maria Stopes will provide abortions, using pills, to pregnant women, up to nine weeks' gestation. Last year 1,007 from Northern Ireland and 4,149 from the Republic travelled to England and Wales to have abortions.
Cullen accused Marie Stopes of “imposing an abortion regime on Northern Ireland".
On Thursday night Sinn Fein issued a statement saying it “is not in favor of abortion. Sinn Féin believes that where a woman’s life or mental health is at risk or in grave danger that the final decision rests with the woman.
“The Marie Stopes clinic is a private institution. It has to operate under the guidelines and the legal framework set out by the department of health in the North.”
Choice Ireland, a pro-choice group, has asked the Government “to take note of this new positive step and finally legislate for the right of a woman to obtain an abortion when her life is in danger.
"It is unacceptable that 20 years after women were granted the constitutional right to abortion [when their lives are in danger] that women in Ireland must take a case to the Irish or European courts in order to exercise their rights,"
Northern Ireland’s Abortion Rights group called the introduction of the clinic to Belfast as “groundbreaking”.
Darinka Aleksic told the Irish Examiner "Women in Northern Ireland are UK taxpayers yet they are treated like second class citizens when it comes to abortion. Having to travel to the mainland or further abroad to access safe, legal abortion exacts a huge financial and emotional cost.
"Over 50,000 women have had to make this journey over the past 40 years and it is an injustice that must not be allowed to continue."
The Irish Family Planning Agency (IFPA) told the paper they will not be giving their clients the clinic’s details. They said as of yet they did not have all the information.
A spokesperson said “Until it has had an opportunity to examine this information, IFPA will not make any decision about offering the contact details of this service to women seeking information on abortion from the Republic.”
Here’s a video from Irish Family Planning Association on the facts of abortion in Ireland:
Here’s an anti-abortion video about the right to life: