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No More Shame marches down Main Street to highlight pro-choice campaign

Pro-choice group No More Shame walked from John Macintosh Square to No.6 Convent Place and back last Saturday to raise awareness of the pro-choice campaign.

Many of the campaigners brought suitcases with mock luggage tags and posters to highlight the fact that women in Gibraltar have no option but to travel abroad if they are considering an abortion, which is illegal on the Rock.

Among the 100 adults and children were group members Nicole Banda and Charlotte Lowe, who spoke to the Chronicle about the campaign.

“The purpose of today is to highlight the fact that banning abortions does not stop them happening,” said Ms Banda.

“That is a proven fact. Banning abortions does not work and people will find ways by unfortunately taking care of the situation themselves or travelling to another jurisdiction where it is legal,” she added.

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Ms Lowe explained that Saturday’s demonstration was “…in solidarity of women who have had to travel for terminations.

“This is showing that we are no longer going to put up with having to travel. We should be able to have them here where it is safe, free and legal.”

The group is also calling for pre- and post-termination support to be in place.

Ms Banda said that the group knows of a number of women who have travelled abroad without pre-termination support.

“If they’d had that support they might have changed their mind, they might not have gone through with it,” she said.

“That part of the services is absolutely essential and as things stand right now, no woman in Gibraltar received that support, other than those who are being funded by the GHA to got the UK for foetal abnormalities.”

Ms Lowe added: “But, even then there is not a proper service in place to support them. You are going for a second opinion and that is it.”

Looking forward Ms Banda told the Chronicle: “We know that in the next week or two the bill will be coming to Parliament. We are not sure exactly how that is going to go or what is going to happen and until we get over that hurdle it is difficult to say what the next step will be.”

“Other than we want to focus generally on reproductive health, making sure that the education is out there,” she added.

Ms Lowe added that in schools, children should be taught both sides of the argument, allowing them to form their own opinion on this sensitive and complex subject.

Pics by Eyleen Gomez