Lord Bishop proposes eight amendments to Abortion Reform Bill
Tuesday 12 June sees the second reading of the Bill in the Legislative Council and the Lord Bishop has proposed EIGHT amendments – and every single one of them has already been debated – and rejected – in the House of Keys.
CALM sees this as no less than an attempt to delay the passage of the Bill and to ignore the will of the House of Keys, by an appointed, not elected, member of LegCo.
Just last week the UK Dept of Health issued their abortion statistics for 2017: 84 women giving Isle of Man addresses travelled to clinics in England or Wales for abortions – and these figures do not include those who gave UK addresses of family or friends, or anyone who bought safe, but illegal, pills online. Also last week, the Abortion Support Network released their own figures which showed a 25% INCREASE in the number of callers from the Isle of Man, seeking advice or financial assistance to help pay for the cost of travel, accommodation and abortion services – a cost which can be over £2000.
This has got to stop – every day this Bill is delayed is a day when a real person needs abortion services which could be provided safely and legally here on the Island.
Once the Abortion Reform Bill is passed, our women will be able to have abortions safely, under the care of the IOM Health Service with no need to travel and no need to break any laws.
CALM firmly believes that by tabling these amendments now, the Lord Bishop is ignoring the fact that women will require these services and will travel to another jurisdiction or risk prosecution by buying illegal pills whether he likes it or not. We can only trust that the other MLCs will see these amendments for what they are: cynical repeats of previous, failed, attempts to restrict the scope of the Abortion Reform Bill 2018.
There are a total of 61 amendments proposed but, with the exception of those proposed by the Bishop, most are slight alterations to wording for the sake of consistency and clarity. We expect those amendments to go through without debate.
You can find the Abortion Reform Bill (with the amendments agreed by the House of Keys) here:
The order paper for tomorrow’s LegCo sitting, with all the proposed amendments, is here:
The public is welcome to attend the sitting, which starts at 10.30am, but if you can’t be there in person you can listen to it live via the Tynwald website – just follow this link: