There is now less than a week to go before consultation closes on the draft abortion reform bill here on the Isle of Man.
That means we’re now entering the final stretch before your opportunity to express your views ends.
The Abortion Reform Bill 2017 is being proposed by Ramsey general practicioner and Member of the House of Keys Dr Alex Allinson.
In line with all new legislation, the Manx government is currently consulting on the proposals.
This is what the Campaign for Abortion Law Modernisation is calling for:
Terminations up to 14 weeks
Abortion to be available if requested by a woman who is distressed at being pregnant.
Ultrasound scan given to evidence gestation.
The required forms can be completed by a range of health professionals including GPs, junior doctors, midwives, nurses and locums.
Terminations between 14 and 24 weeks
Abortion to be available if there are serious maternal health concerns (physical or mental), serious social grounds or severe foetal abnormalities.
Some examples of serious social grounds might include:
- Death of partner during pregnancy
- Imprisonment (woman or partner)
- Homelessness/risk of homelessness
- Pregnancy resulting from sexual crime (including incest)
(In cases of sexual crime, the woman shall not be compelled to report the crime, swear any kind of oath or affidavit nor be forced to undergo any medical examination for the purpose of allowing the abortion. Appropriate victim support and counselling must be offered as well as information on how to report the crime should the woman wish to do so. There is already safeguarding guidance for professionals about onward disclosure of the allegation should the woman be a minor or vulnerable adult.)
Terminations over 24 weeks
Abortion to be available:
- where the woman’s life is in danger.
- where there are Fatal Foetal Abnormalities.
- where there is a substantial risk of severe disability of the foetus.
(If this is the case the woman should be referred to an appropriate Foetal Medical Specialist (FMS) in the UK for further investigations and care plan to be formed. Depending on the prognosis, abortion might be offered under UK legislation (eg Ground E of 1967 Abortion Act).
The cost of the procedure and associated costs for terminations on any of the above grounds should be met by the Isle of Man Department of Health and Social Care.
This must include all associated costs such as travel and counselling.
National Health Service provision of non-directive counselling to be provided so women have the full facts about their options (including abortion, adoption, or parenting) and support during their decision-making and afterwards.
The right of medical professionals to choose not to be involved in the provision of abortion should be retained, but they must make appropriate referral to another professional as per the GMC standards
Protest and harassment buffer zones
Buffer zones around any venue offering abortion related services (inc. counselling) to preclude protest activities including the handing out of leaflets, banners/signs and any loitering, to ensure women and staff are not subject to harassment.
For more details about CALM’s campaign, click here.
The full consultation document is here:
Please click here to go to the government’s website and fill in the survey. It’s fairly short and you can save you progress and return to it if you don’t have time to complete it all in one sitting.
The deadline for you to have your say is midnight on Monday, September 18.