Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin criticises Foyle anti-abortion election candidate

Dr Anne McCloskey has been criticised by Sinn Fein in a row over a discussion about abortion
Connla Young

Sinn Féin has hit out at a doctor who is standing as an independent candidate in next month’s assembly elections following a discussion about abortion.

Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin criticised Dr Anne McCloskey after a hustings debate in Derry on Tuesday night.

The GP, who is standing on an independent socialist republican ticket, holds strong anti-abortion views.

Her candidacy has the support of several independent republican councillors in Derry and Strabane.

She currently works in the Shantallow area of the city and is viewed by some observers as a serious contender for one Foyle's six assembly seats.

Ms McLaughlin claimed Dr McCloskey referred to women during the election event as "receptacles for men's semen".

She described the comments as “deplorable and a gross insult to all women” and asked if the doctor was “seriously arguing that women should return to a subservient position in our society”.

However, Dr McCloskey insisted she had referred only to recent conversations with young men during which she told them that women are not just receptacles for semen.

“Sex is more than the transfer of fluids, there has to be responsibility,” she said.

“Any young fellow who has sex with a girl and is in a position of making her pregnant is not putting her needs first."

The doctor said she is pro-life because she believes “abortion harms women”.

“I am clearly for women’s liberation and women’s equality,” she said.

“The world has changed for women, has passed them by and they are left with most of the bad stuff."

Sinn Féin caused controversy last year when the party voted to support abortion in some cases.

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