The British territory of Gibraltar approved a pro-abortion referendum Thursday that abandons its pro-life laws and legalizes the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
Reuters reports the referendum passed with about 62 percent of voters’ support. The territory has about 23,000 registered voters.
As a result of the vote, abortions will become legal for basically any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to birth in “grave” health cases or if the unborn baby is diagnosed with a fatal disability.
Pro-life leaders warned 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 government health statistics]. The same will inevitably happen in Gibraltar …” according to the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement.
Until now, Gibraltar prohibited abortions except when the mother’s life was at risk.
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Pro-life advocates mourned for the future of unborn babies after the results were announced early Friday morning.
“… we will remain committed to the vision that we share for Gibraltar, a Gibraltar that will once again protect unborn babies in our law and welcome them in life and support their mothers,” Gibraltar Pro-Life responded.
The new law does not 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 said.
Pro-life leaders also expressed concerns about weak conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
They urged people not to be discouraged by the vote, and promised to continue their work for life.
“Let’s regroup and stay united and focused on a future and a vision for Gibraltar that respects every human person,” Gibraltar Pro-Life spokesperson Karenza Morillo said. “We now need to work together to develop a new improved framework of support for women and families so that none should feel afraid or alone or unsupported in our community.”
Abortion activists celebrated the vote as a victory for women.
“We will also work to introduce the new services we will require to ensure counseling and safe and legal abortions,” Chief Minister Fabian Picardo wrote on Twitter.
Gibraltar was one of the last places in Europe that protected unborn babies’ right to life. But abortion activists put intense pressure on its citizens to legalize the killing of unborn babies through the referendum.
Two of the major political parties, the Socialist Labour Party and the Liberal Party, supported the referendum, but the Social Democrats did not.
A group of British politicians also signed an open letter urging the territory to vote “no” on the referendum.
“You have something very special that you can hold on to,” Lord David Alton of Liverpool said in a message shared by Gibraltar Pro-Life. “In Britain we introduced abortion before we knew so much about the humanity of the unborn baby and our legislators never expected that we would have over 200,000 abortions every year. That’s one in five pregnancies – that’s an abortion every three minutes.”
Gibraltar delayed a vote on the referendum last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just a few places in Europe still protect unborn babies’ right to life after Ireland voted to legalize abortions in 2019 and the British government forced Northern Ireland to legalize abortions later that same year.