Today is a landmark victory for women's healthcare in Northern Ireland. Marie Stopes International has opened a family planning clinic in Belfast, which along with contraceptive and sexual health services, will also offer abortion up to 9 weeks gestation. The clinic will be forced to operate within the Northern Ireland abortion law, which allows abortion only if the woman's life is in danger or if there is a strong chance the pregnancy would cause permanent and severe damage to her physical or mental health.
|This man can live without abortion. A woman with a life-threatening pregnancy can't.|
Never has the term "pro-life" been more ironic than when applied to people who are protesting against saving lives. Marie Stopes International is prevented by law from providing abortion on demand in Northern Ireland; the new Belfast sexual health clinic will provide abortions only to women whose lives and health would be at risk from pregnancy, such as those with pre-existing physical conditions or those who are suicidal as a result of pregnancy. Currently these women are forced to travel to the UK for treatment, a stressful experience that is almost certainly harmful when combined with their existing physical or mental health issues.
By protesting against the opening of a clinic that will not only save lives, but also work to reduce the number of abortions carried out on Northern Irish women by making contraception more accessible, Ireland's "pro-life" groups show that their true agenda has absolutely nothing to do with promoting life.