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The Isle of Man is a British island with a population of merely 83,000 people. It is currently the site of one of the world’s most extreme abortion bills, which may soon pass.

The law would legalize the killing of unborn children up to birth, and could even lead to the incarceration of medical professionals who refuse to perform abortions.

The bill is without a doubt one of the most extreme examples of abortion legislation anywhere in the world, now or in recent history.

With an explicit language, the bill allows abortion-on-demand up until the pregnancy is at 14 weeks. It specifically allows abortion-on-demand up until birth.

If the bill were to pass, abortion would be legally allowed from 15 to 23 weeks, at which time “medical practitioner believed in good faith the pregnancy posed a risk of serious injury to a woman’s life or health.”  Past the point of 24 weeks pregnancy, abortion would be legally allowed “to prevent grave permanent injury to a woman’s health” if the “continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk greater [than] if it were aborted.”

However, here is the thing: the bill defines health as something a little different. The bill defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The law would allow abortion in situations in which a medical practitioner made a subjective assessment that a mother’s mere “social wellbeing” was in danger by her pregnancy.

So with this bill, a mother could abort her baby if she feels her social life could be damaged by carrying it to term.

Therefore, the bill seriously jeopardizes the right of the doctor to have conscientious objection, by stating that a medical practitioner actually must perform an abortion when a woman’s “health” is threatened with permanent injury.

The fact that “social well-being” is included in the bill’s definition of health leaves doctors who do not wish to engage in abortion exposed to a possibility that they will receive criminal sanctions, one of which may be up to two year’s imprisonment.

The Isle of Man is a region that rests between Ireland and Britain, and has a semi-independence from the United Kingdom. Currently, abortion is more restricted on the island than on the mainland of Britain, but this legislation would of course turn the tables.

The legislation was voted for unanimously, with the lower house of the island’s parliament, the House of Keys voting 22-0 in favor on January 30 at Second Reading. Now the legislation has been passed to the clauses stage, in which its provisions will be debated in detail.

In March, the final vote in the House of Keys will likely take place. If it is approved, which it probably will be, the Legislative Council will receive it, the upper house of the island, and amendments may be made to it.

(Image credit: christine3104)


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