Unite the Union have called for support for the campaign to decriminalise abortion to its group of MPs in Westminster by asking the group to write a letter to the Chief Minister.
A statement from Unite the Union reads:
Unite, the union for workers in Gibraltar, has called on its group of MPs in Westminster to write to Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo to express their support for the campaign to decriminalise abortion.
The union has long had a policy of support, set through the union’s democratic structures, for the right of women to choose whether or not to have an abortion, should they be faced with that decision and, as a result, has been asked by its women and health sector members on the Rock to be part of the pro-choice campaign for human and civil rights campaign.
Gillian Birkett, Unite regional officer for Gibraltar, said: “Our women members here asked us to support the pro-choice campaign to make sure those in this really difficult position feel supported and their voices heard. So we’re working here together with Equalities Rights Group and a range of organisations, and have met with Fabian Picardo as part of a positive, constructive debate around the issues.
“That’s why we’ve asked our Unite group of MPs in the UK parliament to write to the chief minister urging him to support our union’s call for the removal of abortion from the criminal code and for it to be treated as any other medical procedure, subject of course to regulation and ethical standards.
“Unite’s policy has always been about individual choice, and it’s appropriate for the union to hold a policy position on this important issue as it touches people across our entire membership. Many women in Gibraltar can’t afford to travel to have an abortion or are facing really tough issues at work in relation to their situation. They desperately need the right to choose to have an early, safe, legal abortion.
“Our healthcare sector members too have said clearly that they need to be able to provide the health advice that women in this situation so desperately need, without the fear of being criminalised for doing so.
"Unite of course recognises that there are different and strongly held personal views in Gibraltar, and across all our membership, about abortion. We respect that and our union will always support our members at work, whatever their views. But our policy is clear – it’s about individual choice, the right to choose to have or not to have an abortion, and for that decision to be between a woman and her doctor.
“We’re looking forward to hearing further from the chief minister on his proposals for changing what are currently the most regressive laws and toughest penalties on abortion in Europe and to continuing the discussion with him about the legislation needed to bring about that change.”