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UK Labour Party backs ERG’s Pro-Choice Campaign

The UK Labour Party has agreed a statement supporting Equality Rights Group’s ‘Pro-Choice Campaign’, and which reads as follows:

‘We the undersigned fully support the Pro-Choice Campaign in Gibraltar and, in consultation with the Gibraltarian authorities, call for the Crimes Act 2011 and any other Gibraltar statutory instrument or policy to be withdrawn, amended or repealed in order to decriminalise a woman’s right to freely exercise choice over her reproductive rights, and especially in relation to the continuation or termination of pregnancy.’

Group Chair, Felix Alvarez, added that ‘support for our people has always been valued by our community. And we can only applaud and be grateful for Labour’s disinterested and altruistic call for calm and formal consultation in what must be a process of social dialogue,’ going on to explain the background to the Campaign’s launch in May of this year. ‘ERG acknowledges with much gratitude all the players along the way both in Gibraltar and in the UK who have made it possible to bring the matter to the attention of Labour. The collective work is notable.’

‘A more compassionate framework under law for all women is what this Campaign is about. It’s an independent civil society initiative, and it must remain free of political partisanship because this is about the needs and the rights of all women, whatever their life decision on pregnancy might be. It’s above politics. There is much more value to women than as mere pieces in a political scheme.

‘This is an issue that must be treated with the utmost respect, for the sake of each and every woman in our community. And that must necessarily include women who choose to go to full term or who decide (for reasons which are rarely casual, and always felt and reflected) to terminate the pregnancy. The issue around our Pro-Choice Campaign is that women must be allowed to make those decisions themselves without fear of the law, without shame or guilt, and with all the medical and psychological support our health services can muster. Because this is, first and foremost, a health and safety issue; but we must be sensitive to individuals’ convictions and not allow one view or another to impose upon a matter as sensitive and as personal as this is to women’s lives.

‘And while we have no doubt the decision is ultimately the woman’s in consultation with medical professionals, fathers also have a role to play in this. Where there is emotional engagement it is only fair to include them. And we know from discussion, that the majority of women agree that their partners should also take part in the initial counselling process towards consideration of the options: parenting, adoption or termination.

‘It is our firm hope, then, that Government will, independently and of its own accord and criteria, understand the need for the initiation of an early stage of consideration on this matter, and, jointly with concerned members of our community, we look forward to such an opportunity,’ the statement ended.