Choice for women seeking an abortion in the Isle of Man

CALM Isle of Man - giving choice a voice
CALM Isle of Man – giving choice a voice

The Campaign for Abortion Law Modernisation (CALM) is the voice for choice for women in the Isle of Man.

The current law in the Isle of Man is both restrictive and discriminatory.

CALM aims to change this.

The Termination of Pregnancy Act (Medical Defences) 1995 allows some abortion on the Isle of Man in very, very restricted circumstances.

There are so many practical hoops to jump through that by the time a woman has managed to prove that she meets the criteria, she has run out of time.

This renders abortion almost impossible to obtain.

• Women who have been raped are forced to swear under oath or provide an affidavit. She must be under 12 weeks pregnant and must have reported the rape to the police immediately.

• Women have to prove that a pregnancy would cause grave risk to her life, either physically or mentally. Two hospital consultants must certify that this is the case, one of whom must be a consultant psychiatrist (if on mental health grounds). The waiting list could be weeks.

• Feotal abnormality: In these devastating circumstances the IOM law does allow for terminations if the abnormality is incompatible with life, or results in serious disability. But these are very subjective definitions and the funding and referral pathways in these cases can be complicated and unclear.

Who might need an abortion?

The need for abortion is often stereotyped as “young girls who have got themselves in trouble” but the reality is the need for abortion transcends age, class, race, religion and gender.

  • The majority of (54%) of women ending pregnancies are already mothers
  • 70% of those ending a pregnancy were stated as being married or with a partner
  • Since 2005, abortion rates have fallen among all age groups under 30 but increased in those 30 and over.

(Statistics from the UK’s Department of Health 2015 report)

What options are open for women seeking terminations in the Isle of Man?

  • Medical abortion: (tablets which can be taken up to 10 weeks.) This is not available in the Isle of Man. Women purchase these safe, but illegal, tablets online, running the risk of the tablets being confiscated by customs.
  • Travel to another country for a private abortion, costing from £400 to £2000 or more (including travel).
  • Some women take violent or invasive measures because they can’t safely access either of these options.
  • Continue with the pregnancy which may have long reaching effects on mother, baby and existing family.

Proposals for a new abortion law for Manx women

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If you’d like to know more about our campaign click here to find out what we stand for and how you can get involved.


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