Diary

Joanna Biggs

There is one abortion clinic in Northern Ireland: a Marie Stopes clinic on Great Victoria Street, which joins the two-up two-down red brick terraces of the Lisburn Road, where Ulster banners fly from the lampposts, to the City Hall with its eau-de-nil dome and pale stone statue of Queen Victoria. The clinic isn’t easy to find: the signs beside the door at No 14 are for BioKinetic Europe, which runs clinical trials, MKB Law, and Bupa; next door there’s a Tesco Express and Boojum, a ‘Mexican Burrito bar’. Danielle Roberts, an abortion rights activist with Alliance for Choice, says that on the days the clinic is open – Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. – you can’t miss it: members of the pressure group Precious Life are always outside. (‘We are saving babies, mothers, and indeed this country from the silent holocaust that is brutally destroying 50 million lives worldwide every year.’) Danielle acts as an escort for women with appointments on the eighth floor: two activists for every woman, one wearing a ‘body cam, as there have been assaults and harassment’.

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