The Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform (HEAR) campaign is welcoming the news that, according to the latest UK Government abortion statistics released yesterday, the number of abortions on Manx women that took place is the lowest in the last 15 years, and potentially decades.

Every year, around June, the UK Department of Health releases its annual statistical report on the number and type of abortions that take place in England and Wales (Scotland has its own system), and this includes a variety of informative and instructive data.

One of the statistics published in the UK report is the country from which non-residents of the UK who undergo abortions there originate. This includes the Isle of Man, and the latest figures show that the number of Manx women who went for abortions across significantly decreased by 16% from 105 in 2015, to 88 in 2016. This is the lowest abortion figure for the Isle of Man potentially in decades, continuing the decline in the number of Manx women going to the UK for abortion.

The last easily available figure from online UK statistics shows that 170 abortions were recorded as taking place on Manx residents in 2002. Since then, the figure has declined, falling below 100 for the first time this century in 2011, and only briefly increasing to 105 last year. Given the 2016 figure, the number of Manx abortions taking place in the UK has declined by almost 50% in the last decade-and-a-half.

This graph, based on the UK stats, illustrates the welcome decline:

Despite this welcome news, the stats also illustrate the sad situation of abortion as practised in the UK:

  • Concerns have been raised by disability rights activists over the worsening number of informally eugenic abortions taking place, set to significantly worsen with the introduction of new pre-natal testing.
  • The UK branch of the charity Life has also pointed out that 38% of UK abortions in 2016 were repeat abortions (in the past costing around £850,000 a week to the UK taxpayer), with nearly half of women over 25 who went for an abortion having been through one previously.
  • 98% of UK abortions are paid for by the taxpayer at enormous cost to their National Health Service (with past figures being £90 million a year).

As HEAR has pointed out before, and is shown still to be relevant by the 2016 statistics, the failed permissive legislation across has meant:

HEAR spokesperson Hannah Grove, said:

“We hugely welcome the continued dramatic decline over time in the number of abortions undertaken by Manx residents in the UK. This shows that there is no need to worsen right-to-life protections for unborn children on the Isle of Man based on any perceived demand from women on the Island.

The statistics collected by the UK Department of Health are hugely useful. They show cheering news for the Isle of Man, and expose the dire situation in Britain. HEAR believes it would be helpful for the IOM Government to collect similar statistics, as long as personal medical privacy could be ensured.

As the British stats show, there are lots of reasons to not want a situation as they have across when it comes to abortion law. In England and Wales, they have serious issues of eugenic abortion, sex-selective abortion, repeat abortions, degraded conscience rights for medical professionals, and other abuses. This is all because their law and their regulation is so weak. We do not need any of that here, and the reason we do not have it is because we learnt from the UK experience in 1995, and framed our abortion law with far greater care than they did.

Our law could certainly be humanised, but it certainly does not need worsening as the abortion lobby wish. Let us increase support for women in unplanned pregnancy and thereby further enable the society these UK statistics show we are increasingly becoming: one that respects the humanity, dignity, and rights of all human beings, especially those most vulnerable in the womb.


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