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IoM abortion reform passes major stage

Dr Alex Allinson in the House of Keys today. Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

Plans to reform abortion law on the Isle of Man have passed a major hurdle in the House of Keys.

Parliament held its second reading to discuss proposals today for reform, which would mirror the law in the UK.

Efforts to form an investigating committee - which some MHKs feared would delay the reforms for more than a year - were defeated eighteen votes to five.

It'll now go through to the amendment stage.

At present, abortions can only be carried out on the Isle of Man if a pregnancy is the result of rape or because of mental health concerns under the Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995.

Members of the House of Keys debated the decision of taking the Bill to a committee for two to three hours - Chris Robertshaw led the motion but was unsuccessful.

Let us now seize the opportunity to move forward with a piece of legislation fit for our society, our island, and our century.

– Dr Alex Allinson MHK

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Pro-life group return to IoM in lead-up to abortion reform talks

Tynwald Parliament buildings in Douglas. Credit: ITV Granada

UK pro-life group Abort67 have returned to the Isle of Man to protest outside the government buildings in Douglas.

Despite complaints by some residents, the group aim to highlight their views while the House of Keys discusses abortion law reform this month.

The group have said they will be on-island until January 24th and wear body cameras to deter threats from locals.

MHK Dr Alex Allinson has spent a year working on proposals for a new abortion Bill, updating the current Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995.

IoM pro-choice 'Handmaidens' hold demonstration

Protesters dress in Handmaiden costumes outside of Tynwald, Douglas. Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

A protest has been held on the Isle of Man by pro-choice group Handmaids IOM.

It follows a presentation from UK anti-abortion group LIFE, who were invited to speak to Tynwald members this morning by David Anderson MHK.

The Handmaids said via their Facebook page: "We’re getting there but the race hasn’t been won yet. We won’t stop until women of the Isle of Man are able to have safe and legal abortions here on the Island."

A new draft Bill has been proposed by Dr Alex Allinson, which is being reviewed in 2018.

Final IoM draft abortion reform Bill to be presented in January

Dr Alex Allinson MHK for Ramsey proposed changes for an abortion reform Bill. Credit: Isle of Man Government

A final draft abortion reform Bill will be brought before the Isle of Man's House of Keys in January 2018.

Ramsey MHK Dr Alex Allinson has spent 11 months working on proposals, including allowing women a termination up to 14 weeks into pregnancy.

Results from a public consultation showed people largely support the Bill, with the results published on the Manx government website last month.

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Will abortion law change on the Isle of Man?

The Manx Government decides today whether to grant leave to re-draw abortion laws on the Isle of Man.

At the moment terminations are restricted. They can include victims of rape or cases where it's thought a woman's mental health would be affected. Dr Alex Allinson explains the idea to have a debate over the issue.

Protest over Isle of Man abortion law

More than 100 women travelled to the UK from the Isle of Man last year to terminate pregnancies Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A protest over abortion laws will take place outside the Manx parliament in Douglas later.

Campaigners say 105 women are known to have travelled from the Isle of Man to the UK to terminate pregnancies last year. Abortion is only legal on the island where pregnancy seriously risks a woman's physical or mental health.

The Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995 is still the law governing abortions in the Isle of Man. Campaigners say it can be too difficult or too late for women to prove they meet them.

Campaign for Abortion Law Modernisation (Calm) was founded in April aimed at updating the law's. Samantha Morris from the group spoke to Granada: