Clare Bailey stern

Clare Bailey MLA comments on closure of Marie Stopes clinic

Tuesday December 5 2017

Green Party MLA Clare Bailey has commented on the announcement that Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast is to close.

“While I am saddened that this local provision has ended, the clinic achieved so much in the past five years by providing reproductive healthcare so vitally needed here, but also in keeping the abortion needs of women and girls in Northern Ireland on the political agenda,” she said.

“The fact that women and girls from here can now access abortion in England for free has clearly impacted on the service. I am proud of my time as clinic escort, and to have been part of such a transformative movement.

“While the Public Prosecution Service has now stated clearly that they can see no risk of criminal prosecution for NHS employees in Northern Ireland who refer women to NHS hospitals and clinics in the rest of the UK for abortions, I have written to the Permanent Secretary of Health Richard Pengelly to update me on the Department’s progress on providing  guidance to GP’s on the new access provided in England with regards to free abortions and ensuring a clear pathway for women accessing abortion from Northern Ireland in the rest of the UK. As yet I have not received a satisfactory answer.”

Emma Campbell, Co-chair of Alliance for Choice Belfast, said: “We are so glad that the clinic operated here for 5 years so that women from all over the island could avail of its services.

“It is time now to change the law in the North and South so that free safe and legal abortion can be accessed by those that require it.  The clinic changed conversations and hearts and minds for that we will be eternally grateful.”

Clare continued: “The presence of the clinic in Belfast reminded us that the current abortion regime is cruel, unnecessary and is totally out of step with public opinion.

“What Marie Stopes Clinic began, the NHS in Northern Ireland must now continue. Until that time women from Northern Ireland can call BPAS on: 03457 30 40 30 to arrange free abortions in England.”

ENDS

Linda Stewart

028 9052 1141

07594 391264