WITH the referendum on abortion coming up in March, both the Pro-choice and Pro-life groups are gearing up for a battle of hearts and minds.
It comes after the Gibraltar Government announced an eleventh hour decision not to provide abortion automatically as in the rest of the UK last year.
It was followed by a Supreme Court decision in October which gave women in Northern Ireland the right to terminate a foetus.
Only today the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement announced that Lady Christina Caruana is to become the patron of the group.
“I am honoured and delighted to become an official patron of the pro-life movement here in Gibraltar,” said Caruana.
“I have admired for some time their dedication to both providing practical support to mothers and babies.
“The work and dedication of groups like GPLM are of vital importance to Gibraltar and I am very pleased to be part of that in whatever way I can.”
The viewpoint of the GPLM is in direct contravention of the basic human right to abortion according to the rules set up more than 50 years ago in the UK.
However, a strong alt-right movement in recent years, led by international political figures like US President Donald Trump has triumphed the cause to stop abortions.
The Pro-Choice group, meanwhile, held a social media campaign to remind Gibraltar citizens that if they are 16 or over they have a right to vote.
“Choice Gibraltar are delighted with the verdict reached by the Supreme Court on the N. Ireland abortion case in favour of womens’ rights,” said Choice Gibraltar.
“Choice Gibraltar urges all local parties to follow the guidelines of international bodies such as the UN, UNICEF and RCM, BMA, BPAS and pass abortion law that safeguards its citizens’ rights.”
The Chief Minister recently admitted to being in favour of modernising abortion laws, which currently carry a life sentence.
But in an exclusive Olive Press interview, he revealed he did not want to ‘break society’ but instead gradually introduce progressive measures.
However, if a referendum does not result in abortion being legalised, it is quite likely that a legal challenge would invariably lead to be it being passed in Gibraltar.
This point was raised by Neil Costa in another Olive Press report and reinforced by a local group called Doctors for Choice according to UK guidelines.
Although abortion is currently illegal on the Rock, most women go over the border or to UK to carry it out.
The Pro-choice group believes that a locally provided service will make this process safer and more caring to the mother’s welfare.