Pro-life activist found not guilty of harassment

Pro-life campaigner Bernadette Smyth has been cleared of harassing a pro-abortion activist following an appeal.

In response she has pledged to press ahead with plans to open a women’s clinic which she describes as a “revolution in pregnancy care”.

It is hoped that the healthcare clinic will open in Belfast in September, near an existing Marie Stopes abortion centre.

Last year Smyth was convicted of harassing the former director of the Marie Stopes clinic, Dawn Purvis.

Abortion alternatives

Smyth said that her new clinic, to be affiliated with US firm Stanton Healthcare, will offer alternatives to abortion.

Smyth said: “I intend to focus all my attention and time to setting this new facility up in September in Belfast. This will be the first Stanton Healthcare clinic in Europe.

“I want to show vulnerable women that there are alternatives to abortion out there. I want to give them hope and help them through whatever crisis they are facing. There are many women out there in need of such a facility.”

Facilities run by Stanton Healthcare offer pregnancy counselling, ultrasound scans, pregnancy tests and childbirth education classes but do not carry out abortions.


In November last year Smyth was found guilty of harassing Dawn Purvis on two occasions earlier in the year.

She was given 100 hours of community service and a five year restraining order stopping her from approaching Purvis or anyone seeking to enter the Marie Stopes clinic.

Yesterday she learned that her appeal against the conviction was successful due to insufficient evidence.


Speaking about the outcome she said: “I see the judgment as vindication of what I said all along that I had not harassed anyone and now I can breathe a breath of relief.”

She added: “I feel I should never have been charged.”

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland except to save the life of the mother. The Marie Stopes clinic opened in October 2012 amidst widespread criticism.

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