On 18 October, "the first private clinic to carry out abortions in Northern Ireland will open in Belfast." In a press release, the Marie Stopes Foundation, which will be managing the clinic, states that "the clinic will carry out abortions within the present legal framework of Northern Ireland, namely when ‘the life of a pregnant woman is immediately threatened and/or if there is a permanent risk in the long term to her physical or mental health’." Moreover, in this British province, "abortion can be carried out in the first nine weeks of pregnancy, compared to 24 in the rest of the United Kingdom."
At the same time, "the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated that he backs reducing by half the legal time limit for abortion in the country, arousing the indignation of defenders of women’s rights."
Reacting on the BBC to the announcement of the opening of the clinic, Jim Allister, leader of the conservative Northern Ireland party "Traditional Unionist Voice", asks: "Where is the need for this clinic? There could not possibly be one. So there are ulterior motives and I suspect the ulterior motives might be to try and push the boundaries" in the legal access to abortion.
According to official figures published in August 2012, "678 abortions have been carried out in Northern Ireland since 2006" and "in 2011 alone, over a thousand women went to England and Wales to have their pregnancy terminated."