Category: Society / October 18, 2012 5:39 PM EDT
Northern Ireland's first private abortion clinic officially opened on Wednesday (October 18) amid protests from pro-life campaigners.
Hundreds of anti-abortionists organized a peaceful protest outside the new premises to show their opposition.
Some people, however, welcomed the development, but recognized it is a sensitive area for the people of Northern Ireland.
Audrey Simpson, from The Family Planning Association, said: "It's obviously something very new for Northern Ireland and so it does cause some concern but Marie Stopes International operates in many countries throughout the world - in Africa, in Asia - and they always operate within the legal framework of whatever country their working in and so there's nothing to suggest they won't operate within the same legal framework in Northern Ireland as everyone else is working to."
Despite the fact that abortion is very strictly controlled on both sides of the Irish divide and is illegal in all but the most serious of medical cases, there have been ways around it for women wanting to terminate a pregnancy.
Suisaidh Iaoidh from the Republic of Ireland fell pregnant last year but decided she did not want to keep the baby.
"Last summer I was on the pill and I was sick and obviously missed one and did what most people would count as silly and then I discovered I was pregnant. I was lucky I discovered I was pregnant early on. Because of being a student I don't have particularly much money so I decided the best course of action was to buy the abortion pill off the internet.
"I didn't do this particularly quickly, I had days of discussion with my boyfriend about what we thought was best for us and we decided that yes, abortion was best. So I ordered the pills off the internet, they were 90 Euros, they took maybe 4 days to come. They had to be delivered to the north, rather than the south and I got them brought down for me. And I took them within three days of them arriving when I would have been 7 and a half weeks pregnant at the most."
With a unique perspective on the issue she thinks the opening of the clinic in Belfast is a good thing.
"I think that it's a very positive step in terms of that now that women who can afford to go to it, it's still a lot cheaper than a trip to England, will just now have to essentially get the bus or the train up to Belfast which is a lot less stressful than going 'Oh now I have to get on my flight', it's also a lot easier if they can't tell their family to hide a trip to Belfast than it is to hide a trip to England.
On Wednesday (October 18) it was announced that management from the Marie Stopes clinic will be summoned to explain how they are complying with the criminal law.
The invitation to address the justice committee was issued after Northern Ireland's Attorney General called for an investigation into the opening of the new clinic.