Northern Ireland’s first private abortion clinic will open next week.
Run by Marie Stopes , the clinic is based in Belfast and will provide early medical terminations within the legal limits. Abortions are currently available on the NHS in Northern Ireland on a controlled basis – before nine weeks, and if it is deemed that pregnancy will have a long-term impact on a woman’s physical or mental health. This is decided after strict medical assessment via a GP and psychiatrist.
The Marie Stopes clinic will carry out private medical abortions within the nine-week limit and also give sexual health advice and treatment for STIs. The ‘abortion pill’ is given within nine weeks and costs £450.
Dawn Purvis, former Progressive Unionist Party Leader told the BBC that the clinic ‘will provide early medical abortion within the law as it exists in Northern Ireland’.
‘We would hope that any client who comes to us can do so and access these services freely, safely and can come to a centre that will be supportive and non-judgemental’.
Anti-abortion campaign group, Precious Life, said that its members want to see the clinic shut down.
RM: It’s a positive step. Why should Irish women have to travel to the UK to access safe abortion services post nine weeks? They deserve the same rights as women in England, Scotland and Wales. 2011 figures show that 1,000 women travelled to England and Wales for an abortion.
Have you had an abortion? We are working on a feature about the debate around the current UK limit and want to speak to ladies in confidence. Please get in touch if you are happy to share your experiences.