Isle of Man closer to abortion law reform

By Hollie Ewers on 09 November 2018 Abortion

The Isle of Man Government has moved to take abortion out of criminal law and introduce safe buffer zones around clinics.

The Abortion Reform Bill 2018 has passed through all stages in the Tynwald, the Isle of Man's legislature, and is waiting the granting of royal assent by the Queen's Lieutenant-General on 20 November. 

The bill is expected to come into force in mid-2019 and will make it legal for women to have a termination on request in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. 

It will also allow abortion up to 24 weeks in cases of fetal anomaly, and after 24 weeks in rare situations where a mother’s life is at risk or the child would die or risk serious impairment after birth.

Under present law in the Isle of Man abortions can only be carried out following a rape of due to mental health concerns.

RCM director for services to members Suzanne Tyler said: ‘There is still some distance to travel before this becomes law. But, it is a welcome and important moment and an example we want to see followed by Westminster politicians.’
The RCM, along with other health organisations, has been campaigning for the reform in the Isle of Man and elsewhere in the UK, and gave evidence to the Isle of Man Government consultation on decriminalising abortion that has led to this.
‘This is a victory for common sense and most importantly, the rights of women,’ Suzanne said. 

‘For too long women have been denied the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. This is about trusting and supporting women to make their choices about their bodies and their lives.
‘The UK governments must now follow this lead so that women elsewhere in the UK can also make decisions without being criminalised,’ she added.
See the RCM’s position statement on abortion here.