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Unite and ERG discuss pro-choice campaign with Govt

Unite the Union and the Equality Rights Group met with the Gibraltar Government yesterday to discuss the pro-choice campaign and proposals for legislative change on the issue of abortion.

The pro-choice campaign, which Unite and the ERG said they are leading, advocates the decriminalisation of provisions in the Crimes Act 2011 that currently penalise women who terminate a pregnancy except under very strict conditions.

“The pro-choice campaign is committed to the non-partisan engagement of civil society in vital social issues, and welcomes the flourishing of debate and initiatives that have been shown since the launch by ERG of the Campaign back in late May,” the ERG said in a statement.

“We are grateful to the Chief Minister and the Minister for Health for the opportunity to discuss issues of concern in some depth.”

The meeting was attended by Unite’s equalities representatives Gillian Birkett and Anne Smith, along with Michael Netto on behalf of the Union’s community branch, alongside ERG chairman, Felix Alvarez, and secretary Charles Trico.

The discussion on the campaign’s proposals was described as “useful and detailed”.

“The campaign explained to the Chief Minister and Minister for Health its view that women in Gibraltar have been patient for long enough already, and that the administration must recognise that further delay on amending action is no longer viable,” the ERG said.

“To this extent, the pro-choice campaign clearly put forward arguments and proposals for the Government to draw up a Bill for Consultation and presentation to Parliament at the earliest.”

“Consultation is beneficial and appropriate as part of the democratic process.”

“However to subject such a delicate issue to a process of politicisation does women in Gibraltar a disservice.”

“We have to say that the executive has demonstrated an open ear on the issues, and we have made it abundantly clear that the nub of our campaign’s demands is respect for all women, regardless of convictions on this delicate subject.”

“Respect also to all those of religious faiths or none.”

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