The Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform (HEAR) campaign has sent its official Submission (also available as a PDF document) to the Public Consultation on the draft abortion Bill that will be proposed to Tynwald by Dr. Alex Allinson MHK, the closing date for which is this Monday 18th September.

Among the problems with the Bill, HEAR identifies that it:

  • Formally introduces abortion on demand, for any reason, up to 14 weeks. This includes formally legalising sex-selective abortion.
  • Informally allows for abortion on demand as happens across, up to 24 weeks through widely interpretable ‘health’ and ‘social’ grounds. This would informally enable sex-selective abortion up to the third trimester.
  • Worsens disability discrimination in the law, introducing abortion for disability up to birth, and enabling the informally eugenic ‘screening out’ of babies with impairments.
  • Removes criminal penalties for women who self-abort, taking away the ability of the courts to flexibly exercise justice as well as mercy in different circumstances.
  • Undermines conscience protections
  • Solidifies the undermining of parental rights through ‘Gillick Competency’.
  • Removes protections for unborn babies to be born alive and cared for after late terminations.

HEAR has learnt much from equality campaigns across such as women’s rights coalition Stop Gendercide, disability rights group We’re All Equal, and Down’s syndrome advocates Don’t Screen Us Out, all of whom have taken an interest in the Manx abortion debate from different equality-based angles, even whilst not being consistent ‘pro-life’ campaigns. These have all pointed to the dangerously discriminatory nature of the Bill in its contents and in what it would enable, adding to the inhumane inequality that abortion always involves against unborn children.

By contrast, the abortion lobby on the Island have with appallingly bigoted arrogance dismissed the informed analysis and principled concern of these human rights campaigners, and even absurdly exhorted the Manx public to narrow-mindedly ignore them simply because they do not live here. (As if coming from across the Irish Sea somehow disables the ability of others to read and understand a draft Bill and consider the potential legal and medical effects of it based on reasoned thought and British and international experience.)

Such shamefully petty and ignorantly insular attitudes on the part of Manx abortion lobbyists simply show that it is they, and not the campaigners across, who ‘‘do not understand’’ the salient issues surrounding abortion law and practice (or would rather not do so), on the Island as elsewhere.

Despite the many flaws in the Consultation, which HEAR points out in the Submission, the analysis it has engendered across borders of the draft Bill has been hugely valuable in exposing the serious demerits of such extreme and permissive potential legislation.

HEAR spokesperson Sue Richardson, said:

We hope that this Submission illustrates the various problems with this draft Bill, and helps inform the general public. We already have law that, whilst not perfect, is far better than the system across, and the inhumane and extreme proposals contained in the Bill Dr. Allinson is putting forward. We urge anyone who has not yet written in to the Consultation to grab the last chance to do so this weekend, before Monday.

We call the draft Bill regressive’, because it is the opposite and antithesis of progressive. It would worsen inequality and discrimination in the law, and coarsen and dehumanise our medical system. Real progress would see a greater recognition of the equal humanity and dignity of unborn children to the rest of the human family, and create greater compassionate care for women and couples who experience unplanned pregnancy and their babies.

The Isle of Man does not need abortion on demand. That is the dark road down which Britain went, and from which we learnt. What we need is be even more the caring and compassionate society we have always been by rejecting British-style abortion, and better supporting pregnant mothers and their unborn children.

In recognising that both lives matter, and that every life counts within the womb and without, we can express real solidarity with every member of our society”.

ENDS

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