Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Chief Minister: Isle of Man abortion laws 'need changing'

Pro choice campaigner outside Tynwald, Isle of Man
Image caption Members of the pro-choice group CALM want the island's law to be brought in line with the UK

The chief minister of the Isle of Man has said abortion laws on the island "need changing".

Allan Bell made the statement during peaceful demonstrations by pro-choice and anti-abortion campaigners outside the Manx parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Bell said work on changing the legislation would begin "at the end of this year, early next year".

The Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995 is the current law governing abortions in the Isle of Man.

This means a termination can only be carried out on the island in the case of a pregnancy arising from a criminal offence such as rape, or on mental health grounds.

For most women seeking an abortion, the only option is to travel to the UK to pay for the procedure.

Image caption Anti-abortion campaigners gathered outside Tynwald "to represent the rights of unborn babies"

Manx campaign group, CALM (Campaign for Abortion Law Modernisation), which was established in April, wants island legislation to be brought in line with the UK.

Although it is not currently illegal, the group said it is "almost impossible" for women to have a termination on the Isle of Man.

A spokesman added: "The current act is incredibly restrictive. We are not saying abortion should be available to everyone at the drop of a hat."

Anti-abortion campaigners at the rally held banners saying: "Thou shalt not kill".

A spokesman said: "I'm part of a group which is here to represent the rights of unborn babies."

Chief Minister Allan Bell said the legislation was due to be reviewed after the Isle of Man's general election in September.

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