Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man abortion law reform backed by public

The word 'abortion' highlighted in a dictionary Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Abortion was legalised in Britain with the 1967 Abortion Act

Plans to reform Manx abortion law so that pregnant women can request a termination up to 14 weeks have been backed by the public in a consultation.

The majority of the 3,644 who responded agreed with the draft Abortion Reform Bill 2017 which would also see restrictions relaxed after 14 weeks.

Terminations can only be carried out if a pregnancy is the result of rape or because of mental health concerns.

The Abortion Bill is due to be debated in Tynwald in the near future.

'Public debate'

The consultation with groups and individuals found 87% of them believe women should have the choice to request an abortion up to 14 weeks.

Another 73% agreed "there could be circumstances in which an abortion should be provided after the 24th week".

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, who is behind the private member's bill, said the responses will be published on the Isle of Man government website on 27 October.

The online consultation, which closed on 18 September, followed a decision by the Manx parliament in January to allow the redrafting of abortion laws.

If passed, the bill would replace the Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995.

In Great Britain, abortions are funded by the NHS while Manx women have to pay for both the procedure and their travel expenses.

Dr Allinson said: "I believe this public consultation has been a success in that it has enabled a public debate on all aspects of abortion and amassed a huge amount of evidence to support reform of our existing legislation."

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