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24 September 2014

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You are in: Jersey > People > Your island > Abortion law in Jersey

A Doctor

GPs refer women to a termination clinic

Abortion law in Jersey

Recently UK politicians voted to keep the current 24-week cut-off for abortions, but do you know what the abortion laws are in Jersey?

"There has to be a seven day cooling-off period for women to decide that that’s the right thing for them."

Dr Fiona Nelson, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

UK politicians recently voted against shortening the time in which women could have a legal abortion.

The Commons rejected the idea of lowering the legal time limit, with MPs deciding 24 weeks was still appropriate, despite medical advances.

But Dr Fiona Nelson, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Jersey General Hospital, told BBC Radio Jersey the laws for abortion in the island were very different to those in the UK.

“In fact they [Jersey abortion laws] were only introduced in 1997, unlike the Abortion Act in the UK which goes back for 40 years,” she explained.

Twelve week cut-off

In Jersey terminations are only available, under normal conditions, until the 12th week of pregnancy.

In extreme cases, when continuing with the pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger or there’s serious foetal abnormality, islanders can have the procedure up until 24 weeks.

“If the woman just doesn’t want to be pregnant then we would refer them off-island to have the termination done,” said Dr Nelson of anyone who’s passed the 12 week limit.

Cooling-off

She also described how women who request a termination in Jersey must wait a week before having the procedure so they can think the decision through fully.

“If a woman discovers she is pregnant and doesn’t want to continue with it she will go to her GP, or one of the family planning clinics, and be referred to the termination clinic at the hospital.

“There has to be a seven day cooling-off period for women to decide that that’s the right thing for them.”

distressed woman

Many women find the decision emotional

Decrease in terminations

The consultant explained the number of terminations carried out in Jersey was decreasing, which is the opposite trend to UK figures.

“Initially there were about 300 women, now it’s just over 200 a year that are having terminations in Jersey.

“On the grounds of foetal abnormality and severe maternal health issues we only had 13 terminations between 12 and 24 weeks of pregnancy last year.”

She added there were only a “handful” of women who were referred off island because they didn’t wish to be pregnant but had passed the 12-week cut-off.

'Rarely younger women'

Bronia Lever from Brook Jersey, a free sexual health advice service, said contrary to popular belief, and in contrast to the UK, it was rarely younger women who were referred for an off-island termination.

“I certainly can’t remember any under-21s in the last few years that we’ve made a referral for,” she told BBC Jersey.

“It does tend to be the older ladies who we make referrals for.”

Seeking advice early on

Ms Lever also added Brook Jersey was “generally very happy” with the current 12-week limit for terminations in the island.

“Women seem to know what the limit is and certainly seem to seek professional advice early on in their pregnancy.

“So at the current time we don’t have any reasons to look at getting the law changed.”

last updated: 21/05/2008 at 16:56
created: 21/05/2008

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

H Horse
OF course abortion is needed and the UK were right to leave things as they are. There are already millions of unwanted children in the world, including Jersey, without adding more

Nick Le Cornu
It was good to see the British Parliament robustly defending the current legal position in the UK and the right of a woman to choose.As one of the founder members of "Pro Choice", a campaign group established in 1996 to support the then Public Health Committee, to pass the Jersey Law on abortion, I remain committed to defending a woman's right to choose. At present there is no need to seek revision of the existing Law. We will remain vigilant against attacks on the current abortion law and women's rights in general.

nonesense
congratulations jersey bean, on being a reactionary idiot. Bravo :)

Jersey Bean
The real tragedy we are facing is that many young women will see the erosion of society in Jersey, the punitive social welfare system and the corrupt establishment pushing prices ever higher and see that terminating their pregnancy is the only way to go. Whatever the laws in Jersey reflect, the fault for the quality of life being destroyed lies firmly in the hands of the States of Jersey.

You are in: Jersey > People > Your island > Abortion law in Jersey

Information and advice

You can receive more confidential advice on pregnancy and abortion from:

  • Your GP
  • Brook Jersey, Nelson Street - 507981
  • Termination Clinic counsellor, Jersey General Hospital - 622116
  • Family Planning Clinic, Le Bas Centre - 443781


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