Looking back... Newtownabbey birth control clinic ‘at breaking point’

A birth control clinic in Newtownabbey was at “breaking point”, in June 1968, according to a report in the East Antrim Times.

The facility at Robinson Clinic served Newtownabbey, Carrick and Ballyclare.

Committee chairman Joy Sturgess said: “At the start, 18 months ago, we had over 1,000 patients and we are getting more and more every week.

“We see 40 patients weekly. We need to start a third session every week but we can’t afford to do so.”

Clinic secretary Irene Hill added: “There is a big demand for family planning in this area.

“We charge an annual fee of £1 but anyone who is in financial difficulties can be referred to us by a health visitor and will be seen free of charge.”

Dr Joy Neill, chairman of the Family Planning Association in Northern Ireland, commented: “We are still in our infancy and rely enormously on voluntary help.

“At the moment, we have to fund £10 a week in wages but we need additional money for medical equipment.

“Even so, local clinics are cheaper than those in England.”

The first birth control clinic was founded in London by Marie Stopes in 1921.