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Together Gibraltar launches online petition for abortion referendum

The Together Gibraltar movement has launched an online petition as part of its campaign for a consultative referendum on abortion rights.

With signatures and the engagement of the wider public, the movement said it hopes to affect the ‘political status quo’.

“An almost entirely male parliament may be able to sidestep this for so long, but the issue is not going away,” the group said in a statement.

“If Argentina and Ireland can tackle the issue, then so can we.”

This comes as the lower house of Argentina’s Congress narrowly passed a bill to legalize abortion through 14 weeks of pregnancy after a tight vote on a proposal yesterday.

The bill, which will now go to the Senate, passed the house with 129 votes in favour and 125 against after an all-night debate and would include abortion in the free public health system.

"We are dealing with a public health issue that cannot be addressed with blinders, nor with morals and ethics and much less religion," opposition congresswoman Mayra Mendoza, one of the driving forces of the proposal, said in a speech. "This is also a matter of social justice."

The opposition, as well as allies of President Mauricio Macri, were divided on the issue. Macri has encouraged his party members to vote as they see fit even though he is personally opposed to the proposal.

Argentina, like most countries in Latin America, currently permits abortion in specific cases, including rape and risk to the mother's life.

Rights groups have criticized a requirement for a judge's permission, which often results in lengthy delays or denial of the procedure.

The bill emphasizes the danger Argentine women face in seeking clandestine abortions, particularly poor women.

Together Gibraltar will be collecting signatures for this campaign around Gibraltar and online.

“Through campaigning, social media, videos and more, we hope to inform and engage the public in our initiative.”

“Let’s show our leaders how the people can lead on this issue together.”

“Let’s give them a mandate.”

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