An American anti-abortion healthcare provider is planning to open a clinic in Belfast, the BBC has learned. Stanton Healthcare aims to have a clinic operating in the city centre by early 2015.
Representatives from Stanton Healthcare recently visited Belfast, and the BBC understands that they have identified premises on Great Victoria Street in the city as a site for the clinic. The facility would therefore be close to Belfast’s Marie Stopes clinic, which has been open since 2012.
The BBC understands that Stanton Healthcare plans to offer pregnancy counselling and also medical facilities like ultrasound scans. The firm has claimed that over 90% of what they describe as “abortion-vulnerable women” who have ultrasound scans at their Boise clinic choose to give birth.
However, its staff are working closely with the Northern Ireland-based anti-abortion organisation, Precious Life. Bernadette Smyth from Precious Life welcomed Stanton Healthcare’s plans. “We would hope that women in crisis pregnancy would be given free ultrasound, free pregnancy tests and support,” she told BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster programme. “We want to provide a better service that’s not available here.”