Survey reveals concerns over the cost of abortions in Jersey


CONCERNS have been raised about the cost of abortions in Jersey in a survey which is set to inform potential changes to the Island’s pregnancy termination law.

Last year, a review of the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law was announced by then Health Minister Karen Wilson.

At the time, she said it was “really quite clear” that Jersey’s abortion legislation needed reviewing, as many other countries had revised their legislation since the Island introduced its own in 1997.

The consultation, which ran from 20 July to 31 October last year, aimed to gather views on the law to inform the development of any possible changes.

The recently published results revealed concerns about the cost of abortions and issues with how the process is currently carried out.

A termination in Jersey costs £185 if the person receiving it is entitled to access government health care. For those who have not lived or worked in the Island for long enough, it costs over £500.

“Termination should be free to Jersey residents,” said one survey respondent.

“Not everyone can afford over £100 to terminate a pregnancy, especially if they are terminating due to financial pressures.”

One Islander asked: “If we do not expect a smoker to pay for their lung cancer treatment, why do we expect a woman who is sexually active to pay for her termination?

“It is another misogynistic stab at half of our population, another cost for the ‘privilege’ of womanhood.”

Another described the cost as “problematic” and “potentially shaming to women”.

“Charging for terminations is an additional barrier to women accessing healthcare, and seems to suggest that terminations are not being treated as regular healthcare, but are somehow different,” they wrote.

“Please make it a free service,” pleaded another respondent. “I struggled paying for my termination.”

The current Jersey law requires a person obtaining an abortion to be examined by two doctors. This does not apply if the termination is immediately necessary to save the person’s life.

However, survey respondents expressed worries that the cost of GP appointments might provide an additional barrier to accessing abortions.

It was suggested that women should have direct access to termination centres without the need to see a GP.

One GP who responded to the survey said: “The cost implication of seeing a GP on top of the cost of a termination may act as deterrent or delay.”

The government said the feedback would be used to draft an updated version of the law to be voted on by States Members before the end of the year.

Assistant Health Minister Andy Howell said: “I would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation for their feedback.

“This will help inform the future of this very important issue.”

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