Abortion clinic opens in Belfast…

NORTHERN Ireland is to get its first abortion clinic next week. In one of the biggest stories of our generation – and one which will unite hardline Protestants and Catholics – it’s reported that Marie Stopes will open for business in Belfast next Thursday, with the help of former PUP leader Dawn Purvis. The organisation says it will operate within the framework of the law here, but that will do little to assuage the anger of opponents, who will see it as the first step towards greater liberalisation here. And with the new clinic guaranteed to attract women – and political protest of a different kind in Northern Ireland – both here and from the Republic, there is an international dimension to the surprise that means this is legal news that will have consequences for years to come.

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  • Harry Flashman

    “I might as easily characterise you as wanting to hang draw and quarter anyone that steals a loaf of bread,while simultaneously putting pregnant women in chains until they give birth.”

    You could I suppose, if you were utterly witless.

    It might come as a shock to you but most people who oppose abortion are also opposed to the death penalty.

    They’re, oh what’s the term, yes pro-life.

    Comrade, if the thing that forms inside a human female’s womb and emerges nine months later as a human baby isn’t actually a human baby, what is it and at what point does it become a human baby?

  • BluesJazz

    Harry

    Google ‘Zygote’

    Though as I assume you’re a member of the BMA ethics commitee, this will be familiar to you.

  • babyface finlayson

    HarryF
    “You could I suppose, if you were utterly witless.”
    So rude.
    I was simply pointing out that you created a caricature of ‘pointy headed liberals’ so you could then ridicule them. The same could be done in reverse.
    My head is only pointy because of the forceps delivery. It’s not my fault.

    “It might come as a shock to you but most people who oppose abortion are also opposed to the death penalty”
    I don’t know about that. Can you back it up?
    And are you one of those people?.

  • sonofwatchful

    The response of our Attorney General and Edwin Poots to this issue demonstrate to me all that is I feel is repellent about their ilk. A quick read through the AG’s website left me with the impression that he is self important beyond belief. The whole site appeared to me to be littered with the word “I” have done this and I have done that. It smacked to me of self aggrandisement in the extreme.
    He and Poots And even the likeable Alban Maginness weigh into the Stopes fray. Why so? Well my impression is that they are against the new clinic based on their opposition to abortion but also that they hate that something has come into their beloved little backwater over which they feel they are not in full control. They also know that the clinic represents a challenge to the cosy status quo that they preside over where abortions are one of NI’s hidden exports to the mainland. They like to think that they represent the bulk of public opinion but many people support the pro choice stance. There is a lot of institutional opposition but the man or woman on the street is more likely to take a More reasonable approach

  • To their credit, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Alliance MLA Anna Lo have both now called on Mr Larkin to butt out.
    The SDLP leader, Alasdair McDonnell, simply wiggled, suggesting that Larkin was speaking as an individual, not as AG. That’s hooey. In his letter, Larkin claimed that he was acting as the non-statutory Guardian of the Law. I wonder did he award himself that grand sounding title if it is non-statutory.

  • sonofwatchful

    I just wanted to add to my previous comments about the abortion issue. Not only do I find our public and political officials a generally repellent and smugly self serving lot I also find the behaviour of Precious Life similar.This lot are the zealots of the anti abortion lobby. Some of their activities should in my opinion be investigated by the police. They deliberately use exceptionally graphic pictures of aborted foetuses in displays at their street outreach activities in many of our town centres. I have witnessed many passers by who cannot avoid the sight of the photos being upset by them. Children who are too young to understand are able to witness them and thesis totally unacceptable. I once challenged them and questioned whether they had official permission to run these displays. It wasn’t long until they disappeared which makes me suspect that they may not. I suspect that the material that they display may well breach NI decency legislation. Since the ever ready to pronounce attorney general would like to take this opportunity to clarify the legal position on this I for one would find this very welcome. imagine for a moment that I set up an anti war stall in a local town centre on a Saturday complete with a display of graphic photos of terribly injured civilians. How long would I be permitted to continue? Not very long at all. I would be runout of town by the PSNI and probably charged with some form of indecency or pornography offence. So how are these zealots able to do what they do,unchallemged

  • tacapall

    “I just wanted to add to my previous comments about the abortion issue. Not only do I find our public and political officials a generally repellent and smugly self serving lot I also find the behaviour of Precious Life similar.”

    To be fair to Sinn Fein and the SDLP both parties really do support a Woman’s right to choice but unfortunetly they both know the vast majority of the Nationalist and Catholic electorate is totally anti abortionist but who also turn a blind eye to the fact that many people do travel to Britain for abortions, they dont want an abortion clinic in Belfast City Center, totally understandable, a wrong choice of location for this clinic I believe.

    By the way I remember watching a program about Bloody Friday and showing dead bodies being shoveled up, horrifying but if thats a reminder and a call to everyone the horrors of using violence then surely showing the horrors and the aftermaths of abortion is a legitimate action.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry, I don’t know when life starts. But the notion that it is at the point of conception is nothing other than an article of (religious) faith.

    Twelve weeks is an arbitrary definition but it’s where the broad medical consensus lies that the fetus cannot feel pain and is unaware.

  • tacapall,

    Feel free to put copies of the posters up on your children’s bedroom walls but don’t wave one in my face or you’ll be facing an assault charge.

  • Comrade Stalin

    To be fair to Sinn Fein and the SDLP both parties really do support a Woman’s right to choice

    The policy of both parties is that abortion legislation should not be introduced here, so I’m not sure that it is possible to make that case.

    The policy of both parties is to uphold the status quo in the belief that this prevents abortions from taking place here. They are now, of course, discovering that there are a number of loopholes in the law.

    they both know the vast majority of the Nationalist and Catholic electorate is totally anti abortionist

    “vast” majority ? I am not sure about that. The last survey on this showed a figure in the high 40%s in favour of abortion legislation here. They can’t all be Prods.

    they dont want an abortion clinic in Belfast City Center, totally understandable, a wrong choice of location for this clinic I believe.

    It’s just as well that they don’t have any say in the matter, then.

    By the way I remember watching a program about Bloody Friday and showing dead bodies being shoveled up, horrifying but if thats a reminder and a call to everyone the horrors of using violence then surely showing the horrors and the aftermaths of abortion is a legitimate action.

    No it’s not legitimate to show pictures of dead babies during the daytime in public. And no, it’s not legitimate to show dead babies as the outcome of an abortion given that the majority of abortions are taking place with less than 12 weeks gestation, and in the case of Marie Stopes plans in Belfast given that there is little other than a clump of cells and some blood. Partial birth abortions, as shown in the picture, are illegal everywhere and there are few calling for this to change.

  • tacapall

    Joe as long as stirring someones conscience is all they do then they’re fully entitled to do it. Waving posters in someones face is wrong but doesn’t call for the use of violence because you were offended that’s caveman behaviour.

  • iluvni

    How can anyone have confidence in the Attorney General after his intervention..(and given the interview aired on the news tonight).
    He’s a failed appointment. Time to go.

  • Charging someone with assault is in no way calling for violence. The violence is the assault. You may have missed my very last word.

  • Belfast City Center, totally understandable, a wrong choice of location for this clinic I believe.

    Yes, they’re supposed to be in some dive down a back alley as I recall.

  • tacapall

    Comrade whether you believe it or not the vast majority of the Catholic population here in the six counties and in the 26 are anti abortionist, as for having a say in an abortion clinic being in Belfast city center, would they be able to object or have a right not to want an abattoir in the center of town.

    Clump of cells to you mate but life to other people and Im sure they dont like to hear their defination of life being called a clump of cells anymore than you dont like to see their photographs of aborted human beings.

  • tacapall

    Joe would it not be more sensitive to locate this clinic on the outskirts of the city rather than have it in the center of town like a McDonalds.

  • GavBelfast

    Isn’t the BBC’s archive of ‘Sunday Sequence’ contributions a wonderful thing!

    Of course, being NI, it”ll hardly matter.

  • No, tacapall. Since there is but one clinic, the most sensible place for it is in the centre of the city, especially for those who rely on public transport. If you are sensitive about it, don’t go down the particular street or cross to the other side of the road if you are afraid of being morally compromised by something wafting in the air.

  • Very graphic language from John Larkin, seemingly a strong advocate from the pro-life/anti-abortion grouping.

  • Yes, Nevin. I fear that the man is allowing his religious beliefs to interfere in his exercise of his duties. That is totally unacceptable in any public servant and incompatible with continuing in his post. If he is honourable, he should resign and continue his campaign as a private citizen.

  • Stephen Blacker

    The comments made by Mr. Larkin must leave him unsuitable to be involved in this issue privately or professionally.

  • tacapall

    Joe regardless what Mr Larkin privately believes, as attorney general he is nevertheless held to account and directed by politicians and the public at large. This is the sick counties and whats right is not always the actions our politicians or judiciary take however in this case they act in the interests of the majority in this country who are anti abortionist.

  • BluesJazz

    That John Larkin is one of the ‘every sperm is sacred’ loonies was fairly evident from his intervention.
    He is not a scientist and has no knowledge of cell Biology. He maybe a small town lawyer who brown nosed himself in to our little parochial assembly, but that wont cut with the BMA.
    The British Medical Association and General Medical Council (GMC) are the arbiters of medical procedures here in the UK.
    Are we to have a Scopes trial in NI nearly 90 years after the the Tenessee original?
    It would certainly show up the medieval philosophy of politicians (and their favoured solicitors) here.

  • iluvni

    ‘putting a bullet in the back of the head of the child…’

    A man who can speak (so alarmingly casually) like that is unsuitable to hold the office he has. Its disgraceful.

  • Neil

    That John Larkin is one of the ‘every sperm is sacred’ loonies was fairly evident from his intervention.

    Not so. He said that aborting a child two days prior to birth is similar to killing a child two days after birth. Most pro choice people accept that there should be a limit to how late an abortion should be permitted, based on the ability of a fetus to experience pain. His intervention in a professional capacity with regards to the rule of law is appropriate, it’s his job.

  • No Neil. The people who are given the responsibility to investigate suspected crime are the PSNI. The person responsible for ensuring that actions or directives by the Government is the AG. In this case there is nothing to concern him since the Government (if you’re generous enough to call them that) have not issued any directives, despite being ordered to do so by a High Court Justice over a year ago. That’s where the AG’s focus should be.

  • The legality of directives….

  • Neil

    I think technically Joe there are significant legal grounds to disagree. This is not about ‘investigating crime’ but rather determining for the PSNI (and other agencies) guidelines under which they can determine in what situation a crime is committed.

    The situation with regards this clinic, the law and the adherence to the law of the clinic which is outside of any regulatory structures is his business. His legal opinion is important here, his other opinions not so much.

  • Neil,

    There are no guidelines. The Minister has defied the Court and refused to issue any. If the AG is intending to force that issue, good on him. But that’s not what he has said. A simple statement from him should clear the matter up.

  • GEF

    The RC Church comes out strongly against these abortion clinics. Yet they also believe fetuses, lost through abortion or miscarriage, still births & unbaptized children all go to a supernatural place called limbo, and are denied the right to enter the kingdom of heaven. Until recently their dead remains were likewise denied the right to be buried within the grounds of RC Church graveyards throughout NIR & ROI. http://www.religioustolerance.org/limbo.htm

  • tacapall

    “Yet they also believe fetuses, lost through abortion or miscarriage, still births & unbaptized children all go to a supernatural place called limbo”

    Get with the times GIF the Catholic church ditched that mumbo jumbo about limboland long ago and how could any christian faith who use the ten commandments as the foundation of its ethics support the ending of human life by mankind for reasons like unaffordability and career prospects.