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Abortion clinic is a step forward for Ulster

As a supporter of a woman's right to choose I, and countless others, feel that the opening of the new Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast is a very important step for Northern Ireland.

When Bernadette Smyth from Precious-Life said that Marie Stopes "have no right to perform abortions here" she seemed to be forgetting that there is, and will always be, a high demand for abortion in Northern Ireland.

It may be treated as a cultural taboo, but the fact is that the majority of women seeking an abortion, will manage to obtain it one way or another, whether they are "lucky" enough to be legally granted it under our tight legislation, or have to make a lonely journey to England under the burden of secrecy and shame, or have to resort to dangerous and illegal options which Precious Life, no doubt, wouldn't wish on their worst enemies.

So why aren't Precious Life, upholders of compassion and mercy, welcoming this clinic, which will offer professional medical and emotional support to women who would otherwise suffer more?

It is my hope that Northern Ireland will eventually see an extension of the 1967 Abortion Act. The Marie Stopes Clinc isn't the final solution, but it's a brave stepping-stone towards the day when the abortion issue will be separated from religion and politics.

C Acheson

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