Saturday 21 April 2018

Former loyalist politician running the Belfast clinic

Dawn Purvis in a consultation room at the Belfast clinic
Dawn Purvis in a consultation room at the Belfast clinic

The Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast will be run by former Progressive Unionist MLA Dawn Purvis, who said it will be a specialist centre offering short- and long-term contraceptive options, emergency contraception and HIV testing.

The clinic is not subject to any kind of regulation or licensing. Despite there being stringent legislation governing when a termination can be carried out, the clinic will not have to provide any information about the number of abortions it carries out.

Marie Stopes contacted the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, the North's health watchdog, 18 months ago.

However, Tracey McNeill of Marie Stopes International said that because the Abortion Act does not extend to the North there is nothing in legislation to say a facility which provides abortions must be regulated.

She described it as "incredible" and stressed that despite this the clinic will act inside the law. Ms McNeill said she believed the government never thought such a facility would open, so never addressed the legal issue.

Irish Independent

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