Editorial: Welcome to Belfast, Marie Stopes


There are protests expected next week when Northern Ireland's first ever private abortion clinic opens. And they will come despite the fact that the clinic will only offer services that are already available under the province's restrictive laws on terminations.

Those who would close the clinic before it even opens could not be more wrong. Abortion is not an option which is chosen lightly. And it is a decision often made at a moment of great turmoil and vulnerability. Having a clinic locally, rather than adding the stress of a journey to the mainland, will at least reduce the practical difficulties faced.

Under Northern Irish law, a pregnancy can only be terminated where its continuance will have a serious, permanent or long-term effect on the physical or mental health of the woman. The opening of a Marie Stopes clinic can only be a benefit.