NI private abortion clinic chiefs to face questioning

Politicians in Northern Ireland want to question the managers of the province’s first private abortion clinic which opened amid protests last week.

Managers of the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast will be called to Stormont to explain how they are obeying criminal law.

Northern Ireland has strict laws against abortion, only allowing terminations in exceptional circumstances.


The justice committee want to investigate, after Northern Ireland’s Attorney General John Larkin QC wrote a letter to them calling for the clinic to be looked into.

MLA Alban Maginness said during a committee hearing that he is worried because the clinic is outside the NHS and appears to be unregulated.

He said, “I hope that Marie Stopes will respond positively to any invitation so then we can enquire from them what their position is within the law”.


A member of the health committee MLA Jim Wells said this had become “a legal issue rather than a health issue” and that the public want action.

Mr Larkin has said he will help with any investigation by the justice committee.

Around 200 protestors were outside the abortion clinic on its opening day.

Not welcome

Bernadette Smyth, from Precious Life which organised the rally, said: “There is no will for Marie Stopes to be here – they are not welcome.”

She added: “Unborn children are precious and there is no will for abortion to be legalised here from the people or politicians. It’s clear that unborn children are protected here.”

Tracey McNeill, vice president and director of Marie Stopes UK and Europe, said the organisation would not break the law.

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