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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019

Contraception and abortion services provider Marie Stopes is closing its Belfast clinic

Marie Stopes International (MSI) provides around one third of abortions in England.

File photo of consultation room at the Marie Stopes Northern Ireland in Belfast.
File photo of consultation room at the Marie Stopes Northern Ireland in Belfast.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

CONTRACEPTION AND ABORTION services provider Marie Stopes has announced that it’s closing its clinic in Belfast.

It follows the UK Government’s move to fund abortion treatment for Northern Irish women.

Marie Stopes International (MSI) provides around one-third of abortions in England.

However, abortion law in Northern Ireland is much more restrictive than the rest of the United Kingdom and more than three-quarters of Northern Irish women already come to Marie Stopes UK directly via its national referral service.

MSI says the closure of the Belfast clinic on 8 December will enable it to focus its resources so that Northern Irish women can better access funded treatment in England.

In a statement the managing director at Marie Stopes UK Richard Bentley said:

“Following the UK Government’s ground-breaking move to fund abortion services for Northern Irish women using our clinics in England, we believe we can better serve Northern Irish women through our national referral service than through an independent clinic in one part of Northern Ireland.

When we opened in Belfast, many local women, and even some local GPs, were not aware of a woman’s legal options.

“For five years, our Belfast team has provided the services allowed within a highly restrictive legal framework and worked tirelessly to drive awareness of women’s options.”

Read: UK abortion provider warned over concerns around risk and training>

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