“Isle of Man set to decriminalise abortion”

Yes, you read that right.  That was just one of the headlines we woke up to today when a story issued by the Press Association was picked up by the UK press including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Mirror, and ITV and a whole host of others.

Journalists from the Press Association visited the Island a few weeks ago and spoke to a number of people from CALM, Dr Allinson MHK and some of the anti-choice protestors and have released the story in time for the third reading of the Abortion Reform Bill in the House of Keys tomorrow, Tuesday 1 May.

But – and we hate to pour cold water on this parade – we’re not there yet.

Following tomorrow’s third reading, the Abortion Reform Bill 2018 has to be scrutinised by the Legislative Council, and then be ratified by Tynwald before it can become law.  In the meantime CALM continues to work behind the scenes to influence our law makers, and talk to the press to spread the pro-choice message here on the Island and further afield.

This Bill is, in Dr Alex Allinson MHK’s own words, “a major step forward … and will hopefully lead the way” with regard to the ‘repeal the 8th’ referendum in Ireland in and other countries considering reform.

Putting abortion firmly into ‘healthcare’ and repealing the relevant – now irrelevant -sections of the 1872 Criminal Code to decriminalise abortion were just two of our aims .  We also wanted women using abortion services in the Isle of Man to be protected from harassment and so we’re delighted that clauses to do exactly this are included in the Bill, thanks to the work carried out by another MHK, Ralph Peake.

CALM firmly believes that the Abortion Reform Bill will soon be a landmark piece of Isle of Man legislation.  And for those women who are still travelling to the UK for an abortion, and those who are still running the risk of prosecution for buying illegal medication, it won’t be a day too soon.

 

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