Everyone is thrilled! Just kidding, there’s been a huge outcry in the heavily Catholic country.
The clinic will be run by Marie Stopes International, and it will offer a range of other reproductive health services (which is a bummer because “abortion mill” is so much easier to say than “abortion-and-other-reproductive-health-services mill”).
Bernadette Smith, of an organization called Precious Life, is absolutely outraged. “I am absolutely outraged. An organisation which is making profits from the death of unborn children is not welcome in Northern Ireland.” Smith called for more crisis pregnancy centres, which she claims has helped bring down the rate of abortion and the rate of women travelling to England to obtain terminations.
The medical director at Marie Stopes International, Dr. Nancy Franklin, is prepared for push-back and says that, despite the objections of some, Irish women need the clinic:
We know there will be opposition, but we also hope there will be some support from the people of Northern Ireland. We think this is a positive move, and we believe there is a need.
Many women from Northern Ireland travel to England for terminations every year. We also know of woman who are unable to make that journey. If we can provide, in the right circumstances, for those women who meet the criteria, this is the right thing to do.
But the location of the clinic has not yet been revealed for fears of pickets and protests. It won’t take anti-choicers long to figure it out, and, uh, women are going to need to know where they can go for reproductive healthcare, so I’m sure Marie Stopes has additional strategies for protecting patients and practitioners.
Abortion is only legal in Northern Ireland if the woman’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy will do permanent or long-term damage to her physical or mental health.