The GSD today announced its election commitment on the abortion law debate.
GSD Leader, Keith Azopardi said: “If elected to Government at the next general elections the GSD will:
1. Repeal the Act which was introduced by the GSLP/Liberals which would allow a UK style system of abortion on demand in Gibraltar (the Crimes (Amendment) Act 2019). We would therefore not hold a referendum as to whether that law which would permit abortion on demand in Gibraltar should be commenced;
2. Legislate to protect the right of the unborn child save only in very limited circumstances namely in cases of rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormality or risk of life to the mother. The latter is already provided for as a defence in the current law. In drafting such a proposed law the GSD will take medico- legal specialist advice to ensure that any legislation on exceptions is very carefully drafted.”
A few weeks ago the Parliament by majority and with all GSD MPs voting against passed an Act which would effectively permit abortion on demand in Gibraltar. The Government have subjected the commencement of that law to a referendum which they would propose to hold in March 2020 if they are re-elected to Government.
During the course of the last year the Government has systematically misrepresented what is constitutionally necessary and talked very little about the main effect of the legislation they propose. They have repeatedly suggested that the law they tabled needed to be introduced because of constitutional requirements. That is simply not so.
It is clear that it is not constitutionally necessary to have a law that permits abortion on demand. There is a case for saying it is constitutionally necessary to legislate for narrow exceptions of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality only. That is not what the GSLP’s abortion law will do.
It is statistically the case that in the UK over 99% of cases of abortion do not involve grounds of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. The GSLP/Liberals law of abortion on demand is the same as the UK law except with a lower threshold of 12 weeks.
During the last 18 months the GSD has made clear that no political party had a current mandate on this important social issue and that a law should not be introduced without first seeking a mandate.
“We are making clear that if we are elected to Government at the next election we will repeal the GSLP/Liberals law and replace it with a law that protects the rights of the unborn subject to tightly defined exceptional circumstances. We seek a mandate for that position at the next election” added Mr Azopardi.