The people of Gibraltar have just voted in favor of expanding the law on voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion). The British colony has thus decided to model its law on that of London, which has been lobbying its various territories for several years in order to guarantee widespread access to abortion.
“The people of Gibraltar are being offered a choice: to choose between life or death....To vote ‘no’ is to vigorously defend the right to life as it is currently enshrined in the Gibraltar Constitution. …May the Virgin Mary enlighten us all in our duty to protect the right to life of the unborn child.”
The pastoral letter written on June 19, 2021 by Msgr. Carmel Zammit, Bishop of Gibraltar, will have done nothing, neither the March for Life which took place on June 15, nor the holy hours organized in the various parishes of the diocese.
During the referendum held on June 24, some 62% of the votes cast were in favor of a law extending the conditions for abortion, in the event that a woman's mental or physical health is in danger, in particular, in cases of rape or incest, or when the fetus has fatal physical impairments.
On the Rock, which has a population of 32,000 - including 25,000 Catholics - abortion was heretofore prohibited, except in cases where the woman's life was in danger.
Women who wished to have an abortion then had to go to the United Kingdom or Spain: with the result of the referendum of June 24, 2021 - long postponed due to the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic - a woman will now be able to get rid of her child until the twelfth week of pregnancy.
To fully understand the situation, it must be remembered that Gibraltar’s unusual status dates back to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). Until then Spanish territory, the Rock was conquered by Great Britain in 1704.
British sovereignty was then officially recognized by the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, which was contested by Spain throughout the following decades.
In the 1960s, Franco tried to reclaim the Rock, but the Gibraltarians refused the Spanish annexation by referendum. In 1969, they adopted a Constitution and passed from the status of colony to that of a British overseas territory.
In fact, it was London that - as in the case of Northern Ireland - lobbied to change existing abortion laws: in June 2018, the UK Supreme Court ruled that a law banning abortion in almost all cases was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.
It seems that the unborn child is excluded from the consideration of this Convention, since his life is worthless until the twelfth week. It would even be possible to doubt that he was human.