ERG launches Pro-Choice Campaign against ‘backroom negligence’

‘Equality Rights Group is not going to sit back and accept that Gibraltar should continue having one of the most negative laws in Europe on the issue of women’s reproductive rights. Not whilst I’m Chairman,’ Felix Alvarez, leading the Group, has said in a statement to the press today.

‘And certainly not when all that’s on the table is personal choice on such an intimate matter. No-one, absolutely no-one, has the right to impose on women in this terrain,’ the opening statement says.

‘ERG, as a committed Human and Civil Rights organisation in Gibraltar, will not remain mute and asleep when it is patently obvious that the only thing that is on the table is the right for all women throughout Gibraltar to be respected and free to decide for themselves when it comes to their reproductive rights.

‘It was in 1967 that Britain first legislated to introduce rights for women in this area, that’s 51 years ago now. As with so many other social issues, we in Gibraltar have for far too long tolerated a situation whereby, let’s be frank, women’s only choice has been to go over the border or elsewhere in order to take the difficult decision of terminating a pregnancy in conditions beyond their control. This time, we won’t wait another half century! We cannot allow our women to go through this anymore. For while the recent introduction of the ‘morning after pill’ is a welcome advance, it does not fully address the needs of women.

‘Whether you’re in favour or against terminations (and many will have varying thoughts on this delicate matter), it’s a question that only pregnant women themselves have the ultimate right to decide, though the majority of such women listen to and take guidance from those around them who may also be touched by their decision. They should no longer be treated as criminals. What they need is assistance from the law and from the medical authorities, guaranteeing thus their safety and care within their own country. Women in Gibraltar deserve a law that provides that space of compassion and care, and not the backroom turn-a-blind-eye negligence currently in place.

‘Consequently, ERG, along with a number of non-politically partisan women and men coming forward from both the community of Gibraltar and international activists, organisations and bodies, will now proactively engage in bringing this issue for resolution before Government who, no doubt, will need to undertake the necessary steps to amend the outdated provisions of the Crimes Act 2011.In the twenty-first century, women must be unequivocally free to decide for themselves without imposition.

‘While the recent outcome of the Irish repeal vote precisely on this question is certainly a backdrop, women in Gibraltar need no further reference but their own experience and needs, and the Pro-Choice Campaign will be stepping up and rolling out action and pressure on our legislators in a planned and effective fashion to demand a swift resolution on this sad state of affairs. The delays have been long enough and excuses will no longer do!’