THE Chief Minister has accused pro-life activists of not having ‘respect’ in the lead-up to the abortion referendum.
Fabian Picardo spoke up after members of the GPLM said it was ‘inappropriate’ of him to ask people to vote to legalise abortion.
George Parody of GPLM even went as far as calling it ‘a sad day for democracy’ that Picardo support a UK law more than half a century old.
But the Chief Minister was clear that the group had acted in a way which was not acceptable in a democracy.
“Mr Parody and Ms Morillo call for respect, but then fail to respect the right of elected members of Parliament to express our views on this subject,” said Picardo.
“I will certainly not accept any attempt to prevent me from expressing my views.
“They had better start getting used to hearing me persuade people to go out and vote, and to vote Yes in this referendum.”
The Chief Minister said that history had shown that in each referendum held in Gibraltar everyone, even in office, could express their view freely.
“All former Chief Ministers have expressed their views on issues which have been subject to a referendum before.
“This occurred with Sir Joshua Hassan in 1967 and Sir Peter Caruana in 2002, or as I did in 2016 on the Brexit referendum.
“No one ever complained about those expressions of their opinions.
“That is not going to change now because Mr Parody and Ms Morillo and other members of their team don’t like my views.”
Picardo said his views came from his own principles on body autonomy and women’s rights.
“I believe the issue is one of a woman’s right to choose and that abortion should be a matter addressed in our health services in a modern society,” affirmed Picardo.
“Not content with supporting a position that seeks to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, Mr Parody and Ms Morillo want to tell me what I can and cannot say.”
The Chief Minister shockingly revealed that the group had tried to control what was shown in a local TV interview.
“They purport to tell journalists from the national broadcaster, GBC, what they can ask and where and how they should edit and broadcast the answers they are given,” declared Picardo.
The strongly worded statement will be a warning to anti-abortion activists who want to manipulate the outcome of the referendum.
The Gibraltar for Yes group, which is the official leader of the campaign to legalise abortion has previously accused the GPLM of ‘misinformation’ and ‘scaremongering’.
Early polls have suggested that limited abortion will become law on March 19.
The vote is for the first time open to anyone 16-years-old and over on that date.
In order to inform them properly, a Youth for Yes campaign has been launched on social media.