A British nonprofit group announced on Thursday that it will open the first abortion clinic in Ireland, despite a furious reaction from anti-abortion campaigners.
Anti-abortion activists promised to pressure local politicians to refuse to grant the organization an operating license for the clinic, reports The New York Times.
Bernadette Smyth, the founder of anti-abortion group Precious Life, stated:
“I am absolutely outraged. An organization which is making profits from the death of unborn children is not welcome in Northern Ireland. There will be an outcry from the people, from government and from the churches.”
The non-profit group behind Ireland’s first abortion clinic is Marie Stopes International. They already provide advice for women in Ireland and Northern Ireland who wish to use its services. The Marie Stopes website states:
“As abortion is restricted in Ireland, if you decide to have an abortion you must travel to the UK and pay for the service. We can provide you with all the information you need to make this appointment.”
According to Yahoo! News, the new clinic in Ireland will provide non-surgical abortions to women who are less than nine weeks pregnant. The non-profit organization adds that they expect protests and, therefore, have declined to reveal the clinic’s street address to the public yet.
Women in Ireland are allowed to receive medication to cause a miscarriage only if doctors determine that the woman’s pregnancy would jeopardize their physical or mental health.
In Belfast, where the Marie Stopes International clinic will be based, Northern Ireland lawmakers have repeatedly halted efforts to publish legal guidelines to doctors. The current law regarding abortion in Ireland is not clear, making hospitals and doctors wary of suffering pickets or lawsuits if they say publicly that they are an abortion provider.
Dawn Purvis, the director of the first abortion clinic in Ireland, states that she expects most of the patients to be from the predominantly Catholic south, because they will be able to receive help more quickly than if they traveled to Britain. Despite this, those who are more than nine weeks along, or whose pregnancy will not put them at risk, will likely still take the traditional route of flying to Britain for their abortion.