Published Saturday, 10 November 2012
Pro-choice activists in Belfast supporting the Marie Stopes Clinic. (© UTV)
The sexual health clinic also carries out abortions within Northern Ireland's current laws and opened its doors last month.
At the time of its opening, pro-life campaigners rallied against the clinic, but those taking part in the March for Marie Stopes said it is time for the women in Northern Ireland to have more choice.
Virginia Santini from Alliance for Choice Activist was one of the march organisers.
"In the next few weeks we are going to have women coming to the clinic with very traumatic and tragic circumstances and it's going to force people to rethink their position on abortion," she said.
Virginia said about 40 women leave NI each week to seek abortions and safe, legal alternatives need to be found closer to home.
"Criminalising abortion does not stop it from happening- rather it confines the right to terminate a pregnancy to those well off women who can afford the costly journey abroad, but it completely restricts and oppresses working class and unemployed women who are left with no options and no choice," she added.
Hundreds of people took part in Saturday's march which aimed to highlight this first step in the pro-choice battle for more reproductive rights.
"There's a very silent majority [of pro-choice supporters] but I think a lot of people who would see themselves as pro-choice are cautious about coming out into the streets," explained Virginia.
"This is a first step. We are not going to stop, we are going to carry on struggling. We are going to carry on trying to build support and get our side across."
Abortions offered by the Marie Stopes Clinic are only available to women who meet the criteria set by two different doctors. Aftercare, including counselling, is also provided for patients.
The clinic also provides ultrasound scans, along with STI testing and treatment, HIV testing, short and long-term contraceptive options and emergency contraception.
Pro-life group Precious Life say there is no will from the people of Northern Ireland to introduce any form of abortion in the region, and have been protesting outside the Marie Stopes clinic since it opened.
They say they will do everything in their power, including taking legal action to close it down.