Manx legislature advances abortion reform bill

Douglas, Isle of Man, Oct 30, 2018 / 12:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The lower house of the Isle of Man’s legislature advanced Tuesday a bill that would liberalize abortion access in the territory.

Members of the House of Keys accepted amendments Oct. 30 to the Abortion Reform Bill 2018.

Abortion policy on the the Isle of Man, a crown dependency located between England and Northern Ireland, is currently governed by the Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995, which allows abortion only in cases where the mother’s life is endangered or if the baby has a low survival rate.

The Abortion Reform Bill 2018 would allow elective abortion up to 14 weeks, up to 24 weeks if medical reasons or “serious social grounds” were presented, and, according to Isle of Man Today, “in certain emergency or serious situations after 24 weeks.”

Among the amendments accepted Tuesday were measures to prevent sex-selective abortions.

It would also provide for buffer zones around medical centers to keep pro-life counselors and protesters at a distance from women procuring abortion.

The bill has been opposed by the Catholic Church on the island and by Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform.

The amendments having been accepted by the House of Keys, the bill must now return to the Legislative Council, which will next meet Nov. 20. The bill must be approved there, and be given royal assent, before it can become law.

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