Anti-abortionists furious at clinic
1:26am Thursday 11th October 2012 in © Press Association 2014
Pro-life campaigners have hit out at the opening of Northern Ireland's first abortion clinic.
Officially approved operations will be carried out at the Marie Stopes centre in Belfast, headed by former Progressive Unionist MLA Dawn Purvis.
The new medical facility has provoked outrage among the anti-abortion lobby.
Bernadette Smith, from the Precious Life group, said: "I am absolutely outraged. An organisation 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."
Terminations, each costing £450, will be carried out at the new city centre clinic which opens on Thursday October 18.
The clinic also offers a range of sexual and reproductive services including short and long-term contraceptive options, emergency contraception and HIV testing.
Ms Smith insisted: "There is no demand for Marie Stopes in Northern Ireland. The figures for women seeking an abortion have been coming down. The reduction in the number of women travelling to England has fallen by 36% over the last 15 years since the foundation of Precious Life.
"There is a demand for a crisis pregnancy centre that will provide real help for women in crisis pregnancy."
Marie Stopes International operates in 42 countries and has more than 25 clinics in England, although it has none in Scotland or Wales.
Dr Paula Franklin, medical director with Marie Stopes, said abortions, which involve taking tablets, would only be carried out on women who meet criteria set by two different doctors.