On the 6th June, Together Gibraltar voted to campaign for a consultative referendum on abortion rights. The political establishment has been largely silent on the issue since the Gibraltar Women’s Association brought it to the public eye at the start of the year. Only Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon has given a clear and pragmatic assessment of the issue. Her piece in the Gibraltar Chronicle today concurs with the Together Gibraltar platform supporting a consultative referendum.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle have refused to give the issue the important attention it deserves. They have said they have no mandate to act. The GSD leader outside parliament and the Opposition leader inside parliament have both said they would support a hypothetical referendum. But their party has not given a clear line on what they intend to. We hope they can join us in support of a consultative referendum.
Through this campaign for a consultative referendum, we hope we can give them a mandate. With signatures and engagement of the wider public, we hope 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. If Argentina and Ireland can tackle the issue, then so can we. All circumstances considered, consultation appears to be the most effective route and what is in pursuit of basic human rights. This way, we can have an inclusive dialogue with real results and no excuses from the political establishment.
The movement 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.
Online petition: www.gopetition.com/petitions/give-the-people-of-gibraltar-a-consultative- referendum-on-abortion.html
Campaign video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmQEe-kvv14&feature=youtu.be
The text of the petition:
‘The debate on abortion and reproductive rights has reached Gibraltar and engaged our community. Our political leaders have not been as engaging. This petition calls on them to pass legislation allowing for a consultative referendum on the issue.
We, the undersigned, are engaged citizens who urge our leaders to let the will of the people speak. A democratic consultative referendum can move this debate forward and inform the way our leaders should progress on this issue. The political establishment has argued that they have no mandate to change the law…let’s give them a mandate!’