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18th May 2020, 20:24

Parliament to look at setting a date for abortion referendum end of this month

Parliament will be looking at when it will set a date for the abortion referendum when it meets at the end of this month. This is according to the Chief Minister in answer to GBC questions.

Pro-choice group No more Shame says there's been a dramatic increase in calls from Gibraltar to the Abortion Support Network In the two months since the postponement of the referendum.

No More Shame says that for the first time in going on 4 decades women in Gibraltar have had absolutely no legal access to abortion services, if only in another country.

In response to this, the Chief Minister said when parliament would set the referendum on abortion for is a live issue to be discussed at the upcoming meeting of Parliament.

No More Shame claims the first six weeks of the pandemic lockdown alone, have seen a 200% increase in calls from the previous six weeks with Abortion Support Network reporting that since the pandemic started they've heard from half the total number of people from Gibraltar that contacted them in the whole of 2019.

No More Shame says It's clear that women and girls in Gibraltar have experienced unnecessary personal anguish as a result of lockdowns across Europe and the inability to travel to another jurisdiction. It claims it's also now patently evident that the notion that there is no need for a change to the law on the basis that abortion services are available, at a cost, in Spain and the UK, doesn't hold any water.

It points out the World Health Organisation considers abortion an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic and adds that while the UK has seen telemedicine introduced in an effort to minimise exposure to the virus while continuing to offer this time limited healthcare, women in Gibraltar have been left with no recourse whatsoever.

No More Shame says it notes with interest the reference to the rescheduling of the referendum within the Unlock the Rock document, adding that both because of this and the information received from Abortion Support Network, it's written to the Chief Minister expressing its concerns.