The Northern Ireland Health Minister, Edwin Poots, has said he does not believe an abortion clinic is needed there.
His comments follow an announcement by the Marie Stopes organisation that it is opening the first abortion clinic on the island of Ireland next Thursday.
From next week, women will be able to obtain a medical abortion at the Belfast clinic. This means that two pills are given to the woman within the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Abortions will not be permitted beyond nine weeks gestation.
Currently, women in Northern Ireland who wish to avail of an abortion can only do so when it is agreed that a continuation of the pregnancy would have a serious, long-term or permanent effect on the mental and/or physical health of the woman and this must take place within the first nine weeks.
This is different to the rest of the UK where women can obtain abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy.
However, speaking on Northern Irish television, Minister Poots noted that due to the strict rules governing abortion in Northern Ireland, only around 40 medical abortions take place every year, making a clinic ‘unnecessary'.
News of the clinic was however welcomed by pro-choice groups, including Choice Ireland and Rally for Choice, who said that it will ‘provide women all across Ireland with much easier access to legal abortion, rather than trying to raise the funds to travel to England or further afield'.
The centre will be run by former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, Dawn Purvis.
The sooner we get rid of this disgusting clinic the better!