The Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform (HEAR) campaign mourns the coming into effect of the Abortion Act introduced into Manx law by Royal Assent earlier this year. The Act removes important protections for unborn children and their mothers, introducing formal abortion on demand up to 14 weeks, sex-selection up to the third trimester, eugenic discriminatory abortion against babies with disabilities up to birth, the legalisation of barbaric abortion practices that tear babies in the womb apart, and a host of other abuses that have been listed in the past.

Illustrating the inhumanity of abortion practices being introduced onto the Island is a set of directives passed this week by Tynwald that provide for the burial, cremation, or ‘sensitive incineration’ of a baby who has been aborted. The fact that the directives allow for the treatment of the remains of the baby either as the human being that she was, or else as mere matter to be disposed of as medical waste, shows the nature of the choice enabled by this legislation: to deny the humanity, dignity, and equality of unborn children, and in doing so allow them to be violently destroyed.

HEAR has also repeated its opposition to the imposition of a censorship zone, a delineated area in which last minute offers of help for pregnant women and alternatives to abortion would be banned, around Nobles Hospital. Such a zone is utterly unnecessary, prevents real choice and help being offered to women in the future, and contravenes freedoms of association and expression guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a past letter to MHKs and other Tynwald members, HEAR noted that there had been no attempts at harassment or intimidation in the UK, and certainly none on the Island. Censorship zones are therefore without cause, and would merely prevent groups that may be set up from offering assistance to women who want an alternative to abortion.

Also concerning is that such zones would chill freedoms of association and expression, contravening the Article 10 right to freedom of expression under the European Convention of Human Rights, which has already been asserted in the case of anti-abortion activities by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Annen v. Germany, a contradiction of which could lead to such laws being voided by the European Court, to the humiliation of Tynwald and the Isle of Man.

HEAR spokesperson Sue Richardson, said:

“Today marks another sad milestone for the Isle of Man, as the Abortion Act comes into effect. A law that goes utterly contrary to any civilised standard of progress, introducing and worsening sexist and ableist discrimination and the most callous violence against the most vulnerable members of the human family – unborn children – without any real choice and alternative support given to the mothers whose babies will be destroyed.

The dark irony of an order that calls for ‘sensitive incineration’ of the bodies of these human beings, whose unjust killing we have actually stooped so low as to grant in law, and whose right to protection we have almost entirely removed, is something that every Islander should find chilling.

It is bad enough that Tynwald have imposed on the Island abortion laws that are the most extreme and inhumane in the British Isles, if not Europe, but to follow through with a draconian censorship zone outside Noble’s Hospital, which not only bans legitimate speech and expression but also the offering of real choice and support to women who may not want to abort their baby, is also shameful authoritarianism, and a further denial of the rights and liberties that every member of our society should enjoy.

Tynwald has effectively decided to extend the alleged ‘bullying culture’ within the hospital, to outside the hospital gates against anyone who dares to offer women real care and support, or witness to the reality of what abortion is.

This law is a failure of compassion, of humanity, and of respect for basic human equality.

HEAR will continue to point out the cruelly callous consequences of this disgraceful, ill-conceived, and deeply illiberal legislation, and campaign for a re-humanisation of the laws of this Island. Doing so will pave the way for the day when we will reverse this deformation of abortion legislation that has taken our country so drastically backwards, and achieve real reform that restores true humanity and equality in our medical system and constitution”.

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