NI abortion clinic 'will be regulated'
Stormont’s Health Minister Edwin Poots is taking legal advice on how to regulate Ireland’s first private abortion clinic.
Mr Poots vowed that the Marie Stopes Clinic would be monitored in some way when it opens in Belfast on October 18th.
But he revealed he is seeking clarification on whether the role can be taken on by the Regulation Quality and Improvement Authority (RQIA), which already regulates a number of health bodies across the region.
“I think it has to be regulated, but it will be regulated one way or the other, either through the police or ourselves, it will be regulated,” Mr Poots told BBC Northern Ireland’s Sunday Politics.
“But the Department of Health would rather be the organisation, through the RQIA, that’s doing the regulation.
“We will confirm very soon whether that is going to be the case immediately or whether it’s going to take a little longer to put procedures in place.”
The new medical facility at Great Victoria Street in Belfast city centre will be headed by former Progressive Unionist Party MLA Dawn Purvis. It will offer abortions, each costing £450, when it opens next Thursday.
Unlike other parts of the UK the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply in Northern Ireland.
NHS terminations can only be carried out to preserve the life of the mother or if continuing with the pregnancy would seriously adversely impact on her physical or mental health.
There is strict assessment regarding any impact on mental well-being and the woman must consult with two clinicians.
Anti-abortionists including Stormont politicians and church leaders have reacted with fury and claim there is no demand for a private clinic.
However pro-choice campaigners have called for the Irish Government to change the law on abortion after the Marie Stopes charity announced it was opening a private clinic in Belfast.
Rally For Choice, Choice Ireland and UCD Pro Choice Society say the new centre will make it easier for women across Ireland to access safe, legal abortions and hope it will reopen debate on the controversial issue.
There is only one acceptable way to regulate a “clinic” that is in existence for the sole purpose of murdering the yet to be born and most vulnerable members of the human race. That one way is not to allow such a “death chamber” to exist at all.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree