The first abortion facility in Ireland recently opened to the public, drawing opposition from hundreds of Christians and other religious groups.
The Marie Stopes Center, which has locations around the world, including in Third World countries, is now offering medical abortions to Irish women. The abortion pill will be provided to women whose children are nine weeks or less in gestation, and whose condition has been deemed to be threatening to the health or life of the mother.
However, many throughout the country were disturbed by the news of the center’s opening, and gathered outside of the facility with signs that decried abortion. Signs included the messages “Keep Ireland Abortion Free,” “Ireland Says No to Marie’s Murderers” and “Protect Our Children: Close the Door to Marie Stopes.” Many also sang hymns as they stood on the public sidewalk.
“I expect the heads of government to run Marie Stopes out of Northern Ireland,” declared Bernadette Smyth of the Protestant group Precious Life at the protest. “Those who have come … storm heaven with your prayers!”
“We believe God, not man, has the ability to declare when a human life begins,” added a local pastor.
Some government officials have stated that they may conduct investigations into the facility.
“There is huge public interest. It’s only appropriate to examine [the Marie Stopes Center]. The public expect us to do something,” said Jim Wells, who serves on Ireland’s health committee.
Attorney General John Larkin likewise told reporters that killing an unborn child that has a disability or other medical condition is just like “‘putting a bullet in the back of the head of the baby two days after it’s born.”
Approximately 20 people turned out to support the Marie Stopes Center.
“We are here to give a voice to the people who are pro-choice in Northern Ireland who would otherwise be silenced by this very vocal anti-choice movement today,” stated Jenny McEneaney from Carryduff.
“Mostly what we’ll be doing is offering advice. Many of the people we see we won’t be able to treat, because of the legal framework,” Tracey McNeill, vice president of the UK and European region of Marie Stopes International, told reporters.
Some vow to keep a close eye on the facility, and will be quick to ensure that it is shut down should it violate the law, which prohibits abortions for reasons other than the health or life of the mother.
Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker/Belfast Telegraph