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First reading of IoM abortion Bill highlights conflicting sides of argument

Dr Alex Allinson MHK has drafted a proposed abortion reform Bill. Photo: gov.im

Proposed abortion law reform on the Isle of Man has had its first reading in the House of Keys today - leading to public demonstrations in support and in protest.

Dr Alex Allinson read-out his draft Bill, which will lead to a debate between members in next week's second reading.

He was granted leave last January by the HOK to redraft the proposed legislation, after members voted 21 to 3 in favour of him introducing the Bill.

Read more about the Abortion Reform Bill.

A Facebook frame has been created using the above artwork to show support for Handmaids IOM. Credit: Handmaids IOM

There have been demonstrations from both pro-choice and pro-life groups following the Bill's progress.

At the moment terminating a pregnancy on-island is currently only allowed if pregnancy seriously risks a woman's physical or mental health.

Forget the reasoning just for a moment, a woman should be allowed to make a decision about her own body. Today is a big day for the women of the Isle of Man.

– Rachel Corlett, Facebook
Facebook users have shown their support for pro-choice group Handmaids IOM wearing red. Credit: Katharine Watling, Facebook

Opposing group abort67, who have come across from the UK to protest, argue that Dr Allinson's Bill is "vague" and "one of the most extreme abortion Bills in Europe."

Despite the results of an online consultation showing the Manx public were largely in favour of reform, the pro-life group have appeared outside of Tynwald over the past week and in the high streets to argue their case.

On Sunday campaigners for women's rights group 'Women of Mann' took a march of solidarity to "celebrate what unites us rather than divides us, to stand together in unity."