Belfast Telegraph

Belfast council to investigate regulation of 'graphic abortion imagery' in city centre

Pro-life activists protest at the former Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast
Pro-life activists protest at the former Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Belfast City Council is set to investigate whether it can legally regulate the display of graphic abortion images in the city centre.

It comes after a pro-life group were criticised for displaying the imagery at their information stalls in the city.

Council agreed to examine the issue after a motion from Green Party councillor Aine Groogan.

Councillor Groogan said that the images were "distressing for many people and can revisit the trauma of a miscarriage".

Alliance Party councillor Michelle Kelly had previously revealed that the City Solicitor was exploring what legal remedies were available to the issue.

At a meeting of council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on Friday August 23 Councillor Groogan brought forward a motion which recognised that Belfast should be "safe, fair and inclusive for all".

"The Council agrees that the public display of graphic abortion imagery in our City centre conflicts with this ambition due to the distress that it can cause to people who have suffered miscarriage and undertakes to investigate whether the display of such signs can be regulated lawfully, either by the Council or by another body, to ensure that those who have suffered miscarriages can continue to use and enjoy our City centre without fear of being re-traumatised," the motion read

Following the motion councillors on the committee agreed that a report should be submitted to a future meeting addressing the issues raised within the motion.

Speaking on Thursday Councillor Groogan said that councillors from a "cross section of parties supported the motion to bring forward options for regulating these images.

“Our city should be welcoming, safe and inclusive. The imposition of this imagery does nothing to welcome people into the city centre and bring a positive feel to the place," she said.

Green Party’s Aine Groogan with her mother Rita
Green Party’s Aine Groogan with her mother Rita

“The regulation proposal recognises that freedom of expression should not cause distress and harm to others."

The Green Party councillor said that she was hopeful the issue could be "progressed as soon as possible".

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