By Dave Andrusko
This coming Thursday Marie Stopes International (MSI), a giant in the global abortion industry, is scheduled to open an abortion clinic in Belfast, Northern Ireland, outraging pro-lifers. MSI says it will perform chemical abortions through the first nine weeks of pregnancy.
The Belfast abortion clinic would be the first on the island of Ireland.
Abortions in Northern Ireland are limited to instances where the mother’s life is in danger or where there are serious physical and mental health risks to the woman. There is a furious battle going on in the Republic of Ireland, its neighbor to the south, where that nation’s life-of-the-mother- only law is under siege.
The abortion clinic will be open from lunchtime to 10pm on Thursdays and 8am-6pm on Saturdays. Dawn Purvis is the program director
MSI has “insisted it will act within the law at its Belfast clinic despite footage showing a former senior employee stating that it performs ‘illegal’ abortions all over the world,” the Irish Times reported on Monday. Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor for the Irish Times, continued, “UK and Europe director Tracey McNeill yesterday repudiated as ‘reckless and irresponsible’ a comment by a former South African employee that it performed illegal abortions.”
In the video McNeill is referring to, you see a South African-based MSI executive speaking at a 2007 conference. Referring to attempts by MSI to open an abortion clinic in nearby Namibia where abortion is restricted, the former executive states, “There are various options once we open there. I mean we do illegal abortions all over the world,” the Irish Times reported. The former executive added, “there are various things we can do if we can just get our foot in the door there.”
Pro-life organizations warned of MSI’s real agenda. Caleb Foundation said, “Far from offering ‘non-judgmental’ advice, as Dawn Purvis, the centre’s programme director, repeatedly tells us it will do, it is highly likely that this clinic will do all in its power to push the boundaries of the current law on abortion in Northern Ireland and, by so doing, will offer encouragement to others who share that sinister agenda.”
Liam Gibson, Development Officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Northern Ireland, went further. Writing at Prolife Belfast, he said,
“If MSI is serious about the offering abortion as a service, it is difficult to imagine how this can be done without breaking the law. Despite the claims of abortion advocates, the law in the North is perfectly clear. Abortion is not healthcare, it is not a service, it is a criminal offence. Even helping to procure an abortion by making a referral to a centre in England is unlawful. Only when a woman’s life is seriously threatened can it even be considered. The idea that MSI can simply open a centre, get doctors willing to approve abortions and can then start performing them, has no foundation in law. Unlike Britain doctors here cannot simply rubberstamp approval for an abortion. The decision must be based on a genuine clinical need and with modern medicine such cases are extremely rare. If challenged by legal authorities a doctors must be able to demonstrate that an abortion was necessary, that is, that the unborn child had to die and could not be saved. If this cannot be shown in Court then the doctor and all those who helped procure the abortion could face jail.”
Minister of Health Edwin Poots had told the Irish Times that the clinic would be monitored and that “he is taking legal advice on how to regulate the clinic and whether it will come under the scope of the Regulation Quality and Improvement Authority[ RQIA], which has a regulatory role in relation to a number of health bodies in the North.”
However it is apparently not clear at all that the RQIA, described as an independent watchdog body, has the authority to regulate the abortion clinic.
But according to Monday’s Belfast Newsletter, Poots was unequivocal that the law would be strictly enforced.
Poots told the Northern Ireland Assembly: “If individuals carry out abortions outside of the legislation then they are breaking the criminal law and subject to sentences of up to life imprisonment. Those within the Marie Stopes Clinic would be well advised to observe the law. If some people think they can get away with not applying it then they may find that the law is not a paper tiger but one with a lot of teeth and I would caution anybody who would seek to challenge that.”
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