Unite And ERG Call For A “Cautious But Tactical” Yes Vote In Next Month’s Abortion Referendum

“There’s much more at stake than meets the eye in the coming March abortion Referendum,” according to Unite/ERG who launched their Pro-Choice campaign today. Although both organisations support a ‘Yes’ vote in order to commence legislation that will allow for abortion under certain circumstances in Gibraltar, they say the Bill does not clearly promote a woman’s right to choose.

A statement continued: ‘Women, whether in favour or against abortion must be free to make their own choices, and not have them imposed.’

‘Government’s abortion Bill is being put to a Referendum test on a limited yes or no basis. We can understand that the Administration wants to make this all about the proposals they’re putting on the table. And yet, if the Consultation process that all stakeholders underwent meant anything at all, this adds up to a situation where no group – whether Pro-Choice or Anti-Choice – actually agreed with Government on their proposals.

‘And yet here we are this March, everyone having to decide Yes or No on precisely those proposals. Some have jumped in to enthusiastically endorse the Bill, despite the fact that the submissions presented almost uniformly rejected the efficacy of what is now being referended.

‘ERG/Unite cannot in all honesty overlook these facts. Government’s Bill by no means complies with any woman’s right to choose. We do not overlook the fact that, on this issue, Government is faced with being pulled in opposing directions. However, to have failed to take a clear pro-choice position by a Government priding itself on advancing (not retroceding) in people’s, and in particular women’s rights, is disappointing to say the least.

‘As a Campaign, both Unite and ERG are strongly aware of the important advances in respecting the rights of individual minority and non-minority groups which have come about under the GSLP/Liberal governments since 2011. And that there are those in this community who see the abortion Referendum as an opportunity to build and organise in turning the clock back, under the initial guise of a Referendum limiting, in this instance, women’s right to choose. It’s a first step on a slippery slope, and no one should have any illusions about what’s happening.

‘We ask: who will be next? And we say so to highlight the fact that a NO vote, as being urged by the Pro-Life Campaign, runs the risk of encouraging those with a taste for imposition rather than freedom, to start making headway in slowly curtailing social rights won through long and hard struggle. We cannot afford to let this happen.

‘The Unite/ERG Campaign, for all these reasons, calls on all free thinking individuals, whatever their doubts and disappointments with the limitations of Government’s Bill, to vote tactically. And that means, to vote YES in the Referendum.’