AN abortion expert explained in five easy points why Gibraltar should vote ‘Yes’ in the abortion referendum.
Last week, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo met a leading gynaecologist at his office in No.6 Convent Place to outline how these procedures would work.
Mum Mara Klein Clarke of the UK Abortion Support Network gave five reasons in favour of legalising abortion this month.
1. Abortion is not about right or wrong but about rich or poor
When abortion is against the law you don’t stop it. It just means women and couples with money can have abortions and women without money can have babies or try dangerous things to end their pregnancies.
Let’s just stop talking about abortion being right or wrong.
When you ban it you change it from being an issue of morality to being an issue of class.
2. Parenthood should not be a punishment
Being a parent is important and rewarding but it is not a role you should give to somebody who doesn’t want it.
It shouldn’t be a penalty for a broken condom or a lapse in judgement and not having €500 to €2,000 in the bank.
People need to stop thinking of pregnant women as irresponsible.
The majority of women who have abortions already have at least one child and if they decide that now is not the time to have a baby or another child, then that is a responsible and moral choice.
3. Accidents happen.
It is easy to say that if you do not want to get pregnant and don’t want to have a baby, don’t have sex.
I would like to see all those people who say that go out and ban non-procreative sex, so no-one can have sex until both people consent to having a baby.
You can use every type of birth control and still get pregnant, including the morning-after pill.
This is a fact. If you think that someone is ‘too irresponsible’ to use birth control but they’re responsible enough to raise a human, then maybe you need to change your thinking.
4. Judge not, lest you be judged.
Some of us are religious and some are not. Some consider abortion to be a sin and some do not.
But in a democratic society it is up to the individual to make this decision for themselves.
It is incredible the number of people who call our network who were totally pro-life until their sister got pregnant, until their daughter was raped, until their wife got cancer, or until their husband lost his job.
They were all totally against abortion until they needed an abortion. I am not calling them hypocrites.
I am just saying, judge not, lest you be judged.
We are not God and we cannot judge another person.
5. What’s the alternative?
When you ban abortion women with money will find a way and women without money will have a baby they can’t afford or don’t want. In some cases they might do something dangerous.
These are just some things our clients have done to get an abortion.
They have not got the brakes fixed on the family car, sold the kid’s Christmas presents, tried to self-abort with a knitting needle, attempted suicide.
There’s no reality when all the women in crisis pregnancies have the baby and everyone lives happily ever after.
Abortion has been happening for thousands of years. One in three women will have an abortion. You can’t stop abortion, you can only stop safe abortion. I respect the beliefs of anyone against abortion, but I just stop respecting them when they think they can make that decision for someone else.
Their faith and their morality ends at the border of my body. I would not force them to have an abortion but they cannot force me to have a baby.
Not affording an abortion should not be a reason for someone to become a parent.
Pro-choice is the middle ground of the two supposed extremes of the argument that no-one should have an abortion ever and that everyone should always have an abortion.
This referendum is not about right or wrong. It is about who makes the decision. We make the decision for ourselves – not the church, not the state, not the Pope, not the Chief Minister and not a 150-year-old law.
The individual makes the choice.
On March 19 please follow Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the rest of mainland Europe and allow for safe, legal abortion in Gibraltar.
On March 5 Picardo held a meeting with Dame Lesley Regan, a British gynaecologist who is Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at St Mary’s Hospital.
Regan is also Deputy Head of the Division of Surgery, Oncology, Reproductive Biology and Anaesthetics at Imperial College London.
“It was good to hear from one of the leading scientific and health experts on the subject of abortion,” said Picardo.
“Dame Lesley is the most eminent and well qualified of all the visitors to Gibraltar who have addressed us on the issue of abortion and her views are highly persuasive.
“I encourage everyone to register to vote and to go out and vote YES on March 19 to support commencing the Government’s Act to allow abortion in certain defined circumstances.”
Also present at the meeting were Chandrika Balachandar, the GHA’s Consultant Gynaecologist, and Isobel Ellul of the ‘Gibraltar for Yes’ campaign.