A group fighting against plans to ‘decriminalise’ abortion on the Isle of Man say there are numerous flaws in the proposed bill.
Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform (HEAR) said the change would allow abortion on demand for any reason up to 14 weeks, including formally legalising sex-selective abortion.
They also said the bill would informally allow for abortion on demand up to 24 weeks through vague “health” and “social” grounds, thus enabling sex-selective abortions up to third trimester.
The bill would also allow abortion for disability up to birth, thus worsening disability discrimination, the group added.
Situated in the Irish Sea, roughly halfway between Britain and Ireland, the Isle of Man is a ‘Crown Dependency’ that is not formally part of the United Kingdom. The island maintains its own parliament and legal system, although it has the Queen as head of state, and relies on the UK for international relations and defence.
The island has some of the strongest abortion laws in the British Isles. Currently, abortions are only legal if the pregnancy is the result of rape, or because of mental health concerns.
HEAR spokesperson Sue Richardson said: “We hope that this Submission illustrates the various problems with this draft Bill, and helps inform the general public. We already have law that, whilst not perfect, is far better than the system [in England], and the inhumane and extreme proposals contained in the Bill Dr Allinson is putting forward.
“We call the draft Bill ‘regressive’, because it is the opposite and antithesis of ‘progressive’. It would worsen inequality and discrimination in the law, and coarsen and dehumanise our medical system. Real progress would see a greater recognition of the equal humanity and dignity of unborn children to the rest of the human family, and create greater compassionate care for women and couples who experience unplanned pregnancy and their babies.
“The Isle of Man does not need abortion on demand. That is the dark road down which Britain went, and from which we learnt. What we need is be even more the caring and compassionate society we have always been by rejecting British-style abortion, and better supporting pregnant mothers and their unborn children.
“In recognising that both lives matter, and that every life counts within the womb and without, we can express real solidarity with every member of our society.”