surinenglish

Gibraltar votes in favour of a more flexible abortion law

A supporter of the law change on Thursday.
A supporter of the law change on Thursday. / AFP
  • In Thursday's referendum, due to be held in March last year but postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, 62% of voters supported the change

Gibraltar voted in favour of a more flexible abortion law in a referendum on the Rock on Thursday. Around 62% of voters said 'yes' to a change that will allow termination up to 12 weeks, in the poll that attracted a turnout of little more than 52%.

Abortion is currently illegal in Gibraltar other than in exceptional circumstances, such as a serious risk to the life of the mother.

The new law will only allow abortion up to 12 weeks, unless termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the pregnant woman, or where continuing with the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman that is greater than if the pregnancy is terminated, something to be determined by two Gibraltar Health Authority doctors, or where there is substantial risk of fatal foetal abnormality, and where immediate termination is necessary to save the life or prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.

The referendum was due to be held in March last year but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The arguments on both sides had been raging for months, with religious leaders and politicians putting their often opposing points of view.

Chief Minister Fabian PIcardo, who backed the campaign in favour of the new law, described the result as "excellent" in a Tweet on Friday.