Police question woman arrested near Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast

Arrest follows “allegation of an assault on another woman” on July 17th

Police stand at the entrance of the Marie Stopes clinic in October 2012 as anti-abortion protestors hold up placards outside the first private clinic to offer abortions to women in Belfast. Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty

Police stand at the entrance of the Marie Stopes clinic in October 2012 as anti-abortion protestors hold up placards outside the first private clinic to offer abortions to women in Belfast. Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty

 

A 45-year-old woman is being questioned by police after she was arrested yesterday close to the Marie Stopes clinic, in Belfast, which has been the scene of anti-abortion protests since it opened in 2012.

It follows what the PSNI described as “an allegation of an assault on another woman” on July 17th.

It is understood the alleged incident involved an anti-abortion campaigner and a Marie Stopes escort – a regular volunteer at the centre working to shield women from protesters outside the building offering their opinions and distributing graphic leaflets.

The alleged incident is understood to have happened on the same day it emerged the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in the North was not proceeding with harassment charges against three Precious Life campaigners, the organisation’s founder, Bernadette Smyth, and her colleagues Alicea Brennan and Claire Brennan.

At the end of June, Ms Smyth (52) also won a court appeal against being convicted of harassing former Marie Stopes clinic director Dawn Purvis.

Abortion is allowed in very limited circumstances in Northern Ireland.