FIERY condemnation rained down on the Marie Stopes abortion clinic yesterday as the Free Presbyterian Church staged a protest outside its doors.
Assembled on the pavement in central Belfast, the roughly 100-strong gathering sang, prayed and listened to an oration from one of the church’s ministers.
In it, he condemned abortion – even in cases of rape – and suggested that if women do not want to fall pregnant, they should not “indulge in that which would bring forth a child” in the first place.
He also criticised the woman behind the clinic, ex-PUP politician Dawn Purvis, who quit her UVF-linked party over the murder of Bobby Moffett in 2010.
Addressing the crowd, the Rev Robert Ormerod asked: “Where is her conscience now?”
The demonstration came exactly a week after a similar rally of up to 300 mainly Catholic protestors took place on the same spot.
But this time around, gone were the police crush barriers and the giant placards showing remains of aborted foetuses.
Instead, a more sedate crowd held up a string of signs quoting Biblical verses and, in one case, a copy of Wednesday’s edition of the News Letter.
Meanwhile, people walked in and out of the Great Victoria Street building which houses the clinic.
Addressing the gathering after the crowd had sung the hymn ‘I’m Not Ashamed to Own my Lord’, the Rev Ormerod, from Cloughmills, said: “The Bible teaches us very clearly in the Book of Exodus, in the 20th chapter where the commandments of God are given: Thou shalt not kill! Thou shalt not kill.”
He continued: “They talk about what would you do with a young lady who gets raped? They’re trying to have us on a guilt trip of someone else’s sin.
“As a church we abhor the offence of rape.
“We believe government should take all the action they can against rapists who run about in society. I may be naive. I may be stupid. [But]if you capture the rapist, do we also go after his children and kill them? No!
“The answer is not to murder the child.”
With overtones of Dr Ian Paisley, the minister at one point drew cheers and calls of ‘Amen!’ when he shouted: “We are clear today – as a church we unreservedly say: NO!”
Mother-of-four Jenni Hamilton, 47, from Ballymena, said: “I believe a young person makes a choice when they start a sexual relationship.
“That’s when they make their choice. They have to live with the consequences of their actions and not blame the child in the womb who has no voice.”
Civil engineering student Stephen Greer, 22, also from Ballymena, said that the Bible teaches that God grants life at conception, “for that life to be ended is murder”.
And Dr Stephen Pollock, a 36-year-old GP-turned-minister, had come all the way from Tyrone for the protest.
He said: “The main assertion of pro-choice is that a woman has a right to do with her body as she chooses.
“I would assert that the unborn child within a woman’s body is not her body – it’s genetically distinct.
“The idea of a woman’s right [over her body] doesn’t apply to abortion.”
The Marie Stopes organisation was contacted, but had not responded at time of going to press.
See Letters, page 20