22nd June 2021, 20:35
The Gibraltar for Yes Campaign has welcomed the support of Dame Lesley Regan, the Chair of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Abortion Task Force.
In a letter to the Gibraltar Chronicle, Professor Regan points out Gibraltar has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe with the harshest punishment in the world. She says the problem with restrictive laws, however, is that they do not prevent abortions, but instead force women to either endanger their health and well-being by accessing unsafe and illegal care, or alternatively forces them to travel abroad to find help.
Dame Lesley Regan visited Gibraltar last year. She met with health professionals and held a public Question and Answer session. In her letter, she says she supports the proposed new law, and is confident in saying that the women of Gibraltar will be able to access safe, evidence based care.
Professor Regan points out that abortions will be signed by two doctors and women will be able to access abortions within the twelve week limit. She explains doctors will have to declare that they believe the woman they are treating meets one of the grounds for care included in the Act.
Nevertheless, she says there will occasionally be families who will tragically have to face the trauma of their much wanted pregnancy being affected with a foetal abnormality, who may need to access abortion beyond the twelve week limit. Dame Lesley highlights that without this provision in the new law, a woman who knows her baby will die will be forced to carry the pregnancy to term in what she describes as 'the cruellest of circumstances'. She said not every woman will choose an abortion, but stressed all women should be able to choose this option for herself with the support of her doctor. In the case of saving a woman's life, she said doctors must be able to act without fear of breaking the law.
Dame Lesley says she believes we should trust our doctors and nurses and empower them with the reassurance they need to provide ethical, high quality care for women, which is what they have been trained to do.
Speaking on Radio Gibraltar, the Gibraltar for Yes campaign's Darren Olivero echoed Dame Lesley's words. He said Doctors have the expertise and can be relied on to carry out the necessary assessments in consultation with expectant mothers.
With just two days to go to referendum, the Gibraltar for Yes campaign is urging everyone to go out and vote.