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The Royal College of Midwives hailed a move by the Isle of Man government to take abortion out of criminal law as a victory for common sense and women’s rights.
The Abortion Reform Bill has passed through all stages in the Isle of Man’s parliament, the Tynwald, and is set to be granted royal assent on November 20.
It will see the decriminalisation of abortion and the establishment of “safe buffer zones” around abortion clinics.
Fewer than 10 abortions take place each year due to the island’s restrictive laws which prohibit terminations unless a pregnancy has resulted from rape, or because of a woman’s mental health needs.
Women who have a termination face a possible two-year prison sentence under current legislation although nobody has ever been charged.
RCM spokeswoman Suzanne Tyler said: “This is a victory for common sense and, most importantly, the rights of women. For too long women have been denied the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. This is about trusting and supporting women to make their choices about their bodies and their lives.
“The UK government must now follow this lead so that women elsewhere in the UK can also make decisions without being criminalised.”
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