With Ireland's first-ever abortion clinic set to open next week, social conservatives are outraged and clinic officials are hoping for a little public support, the AP and Salon report. Initiated by an NGO called Marie Stopes International, the Belfast clinic will offer non-surgical procedures for women pregnant for less than 9 weeks—if doctors agree the pregnancy would threaten her mental or physical health. But social conservatives say hospitals already offer abortions for women whose life is at risk.
"What is the need for this clinic?" asked a Protestant lawmaker. "There must be an ulterior motive to try and push the boundaries." Dawn Purvis, director of the new clinic, says it "will provide a safe, caring, sensitive environment for integrated family planning in Northern Ireland for the first time." Abortions that save a woman's life have been legal in the British territory since 1992, but lawmakers have never issued clear legal guidelines for doctors.