Around 70 anti-abortion protestors at NI health centre

Around 70 people atttended a protest outside Portadown Health Centre last night, opposing abortions.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 3:51 pm

This is the second protest held at the centre in the last month, both opposing the carrying out of terminations at the clinic.

This protest, which came in for some criticism online, was organised by the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform - NI (CBRNI) and also included some local church members.

Abortion is available legally throughout the UK. In Northern Ireland abortion does not constitute a criminal offence after sections of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 were repealed in October 2019.

Protest at Portadown Health Centre.
Protest at Portadown Health Centre.

However since its introduction there has been a number of campaigns to stop abortions being carried out in NI.

A spokesperson for CBR NI said it ‘held an outreach to women using the abortion clinic in Portadown’.

The spokesperson added: “We are here to support women and to offer practical and emotional support, so they do not need to kill their child.

“We call on Southern Health Trust to stop killing children at the Portadown facility.”

Protest at Portadown Health Centre.

The group claimed: “This clandestine and illegitimate service operates without any approval of the NI Assembly and we call on MLAs to urgently enact repeal legislation to close abortion facilities such as the one operating in Portadown.”

The change in the law to allow abortions to take place in NI was brought in via Westminster while the NI Assembly was not sitting.

A spokesperson for the anti-abortion group said on Wednesday: “Six members of CBR NI were in attendance operating within Covid regulations, but we are delighted local Churches turned up last night to offer their support to this vital ministry.”

On their Facebook page, the group describes itself: “CBR NI are not just another pro-life group in Northern Ireland. We are a collection of people from across the county who are united in our desire to bring a full and absolute end to abortion in our country.”

Protest at Portadown Health Centre.

However not all were in support of the group with some voicing concern that the protest may put off people who are ill from attending the health centre - in case others thought they were going for an abortion.

Last month anti-abortion campaigner Bernie Smyth from Precious Life also held a protest and live-streamed from inside Portadown Health Centre.

Though she received some support, others felt her actions were an invasion of privacy.

At the time the Southern Health Trust, which has responsibiity for the centre, said it was reviewing security.

“Staff and anyone using our services should feel safe to attend our facilities without threat or fear.”

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