A British sexual-health organization is set to launch the first private abortion clinic on Irish soil this week, prompting an outcry from anti-abortion campaigners on the heavily Catholic island, The Guardian and The New York Times report.
Marie Stopes International said the facility, to open Thursday in the Northern Ireland capital of Belfast, will offer nonsurgical termination of pregnancies up to the ninth week. Abortion is heavily restricted both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
Dawn Purvis, director of the new clinic, said it would offer a more accessible option for some of the thousands of Irish women who travel each year to England, Scotland, or Wales for abortion services.
The facility has not yet received an operating license from local authorities, and Irish anti-abortion organizations said they would pressure regulators to reject the application. “An organization which is making profits from the death of unborn children is not welcome in Northern Ireland,” said Bernadette Smyth of activist group Precious Life.