Due to the corona virus, Gibraltar leaders postponed an important vote Thursday on whether to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
The territory is one of the last places in Europe that protects unborn babies’ right to life. But abortion activists are putting pressure on its citizens to legalize the killing of unborn babies. Citizens were supposed to vote March 19 on a referendum to legalize abortion on demand.
However, on Thursday, the government announced that the vote will be postponed due to concerns about the corona virus, The Gibraltar Chronicle reports.
Government leaders said the health department is advising older people to stay home and especially avoid public places, and the vote would conflict with that advice, according to GBC News.
The situation “could then lead the result of the Referendum, whatever it may turn out to be, to be called into question,” the government said in its statement. “This would potentially deprive the result of the Referendum of democratic legitimacy and, in that way, would defeat the object of the exercise of putting the issue to the people.”
The Gibraltar Parliament will determine a new date for the vote once the risk is over.
Both pro-life and abortion advocacy groups agreed with the decision, as did all political party leaders in parliament, according to the Chronicle.
Patricia Parody of the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement was thrilled with the news, telling LifeNews: “We concur with the decision taken by the Chief Minister to postpone the referendum in view of the current public health emergency. During this unsettling time it is important that the whole of Gibraltar pulls together and supports each other.”
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the friends, supporters and volunteers associated with Gibraltar Pro Life Movement for their dedication and commitment over the last few months to the campaign for the protection of unborn babies in Gibraltar,” she added. “We hope to continue our work of raising awareness about protecting the rights of the unborn and mothers while developing our CareLink program, which currently offers practical support to women in crisis pregnancies and families in our community.”
MP Daniel Feetham praised the government’s announcement, saying: “This is the right decision. You cannot tell elderly or vulnerable people to stay at home to protect themselves and then ask them to come out to vote.”
According to AFP, the abortion proposal would legalize abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy when the woman’s physical or mental health is at risk; it would allow abortions up to birth in “grave” health cases or if the unborn baby is diagnosed with a fatal disability.
However, pro-life leaders warn that the language is overly broad and would allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason on-demand.
“In England and Wales, the exact same wording has led to ‘abortion on demand.’ In 2018, 97.7% of abortions were performed under the ‘unspecified mental health’ grounds [according to statistics from the Department of Health]. The same will inevitably happen in Gibraltar” if the referendum passes, according to the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement.
The proposal does not even require parental involvement for underage girls, so a 13-year-old girl could get an abortion – or be forced into one by an abuser – without her parents’ knowledge, the pro-life group warned.
Pro-life leaders also expressed concerns about the proposal’s weak conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
“… the referendum is not about whether you agree with abortion at all or even in limited cases, instead it is specifically about whether you believe the proposed radical law is right for Gibraltar – a law which mimics the letter of the law of the UK and so allows loopholes through which abortion happens on-demand,” Gibraltar pro-life advocate Clare Bensadon wrote recently in the Chronicle.
Currently, in Gibraltar, abortions are illegal except when the mother’s life is at risk.
Just a few places in Europe still protect unborn babies’ right to life after Ireland voted to legalize abortions in 2019 and then the British government forced Northern Ireland to legalize them this year.