Date set for Isle of Man abortion reform to come into force

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Woman with pregnancy testImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Manx women will be able to request an abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy

Reforms to the abortion law on the Isle of Man will come into force on 24 May, the health minister has said.

The Abortion Reform Act was given Royal Assent last month but no date was set for its introduction at the time.

Announcing the date, David Ashford told Tynwald the reforms were a "key priority" for his department and "much work" was going on "behind the scenes".

The new act mean women in the island will be able to request an abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Currently, abortions can only be carried out if a woman is raped or because of concerns about mental health.

At the February sitting of Tynwald, Dr Alex Allinson MHK, who proposed the changes to the law, thanked the health minister for his "dedication to this bit of legislation, important as it is".

Mr Ashford said it was "absolutely important" that the new services were "resilient, can cope and can provide [what] the women of our island, quite rightly, should be not just expecting and demanding but also receiving".

"We get one shot at this and we need to get it right," he added.

A spokesperson for the Campaign for Abortion Law Modernisation said the group was "delighted" the date had been set.

Pro-life campaign group Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform has been contacted for a response.

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