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23rd September 2019, 18:05

​Pro-Choice and Pro-Life provide wishlists for the political parties to take on board in their election manifestos

The abortion debate spills into the elections, with both the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life providing wishlists for the political parties to take on board.

The Pro-Choice group says they look forward to the inclusion of informed autonomous terminations in the manifestos.

For its part, the pro-life Movement has produced a "Creating a Village' policy document, with twenty five points for fostering a more inclusive, caring and fairer society .

The Pro-choice groups say they hope to see clear, comprehensive, progressive policies on the matter, as well as firm commitments to, at the very least, respect the the current Act as passed in Parliament.

Ideally, they add, not through a referendum believing these to be inalienable human rights and healthcare issues.

The groups claim that returning to the status quo or watering down the legislation to, what it sees as, the wholly unacceptable position of only allowing terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities or grave permanent injury ,ignores the complexities of the issues and serves only to continue to victimise and criminalise as well as undermining womens’ reproductive rights. They strongly believe that future legislators have a duty to defend womens’ bodily autonomy and provide them with safe, legal and accessible public health choices.

The Pro Choice groups would also like to see parties commit to the introduction of evidence based, age appropriate sexual health education. This education, they say, should focus not only on contraception and sexual health, but on the wider issues of respectful healthy relationships and consent. Future generations, they add, deserve no less than this.

For its part, the Pro life Movement hopes its family policy document will help nurture and preserve the strong family values the Gibraltarian community has been built on and so far enjoyed.

The document proposes changes to maternity and paternity leave, increased support for low income families, improvements to the adoption process and more support for those with special needs, as well as an increase to the maternity allowance.

Some of the recommendations outlined in the document include giving the right to leave for working mothers to nurse their child, suggestions to improve and better support mental health and a recommendation for the government to cover the legal costs associated with adoption.

The group states acceptance of the pro-familiy policies outlined in 'Creating a Village', must accompany a strong commitment to protect unborn babies and their mothers in Gibraltar.