Northern Ireland

Several hundred attend pro-choice rally in Belfast

counter protest at city hall
Image caption Several hundred people attended a pro-choice rally

Several hundred people have attended a pro-choice rally in Belfast city centre.

It follows the opening of a Marie Stopes clinic in the city last month - the first private facility to offer an abortion service to women in Northern Ireland.

They were addressed at the front of the City Hall by speakers calling for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to NI.

A small counter protest was also held.

The rally also heard calls for the Attorney General John Larkin to resign over what was described as his "elitist and sexist" intervention in the abortion debate.

Unlike the rest of the UK, it is illegal to have an abortion in Northern Ireland unless the mother is at risk.

Up until now that service was only provided by the NHS.

The Marie Stopes clinic has said it will carry out medical, not surgical, procedures only up to nine weeks gestation and only within the existing legal framework.

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