Ireland was given a huge win over the weekend, with a majority pushing for legislation to make abortion legal. The referendum was hugely publicised, television channels constantly kept the public reminded of the upcoming vote, and all kinds of people were interviewed throughout the lead up, with many returning home from abroad just to place their vote.
It was an incredible result where over 1.4 million people voted for change. A staggering 66.4% of the vote.
With this impending change attention has immediately shifted north of the border, to Northern Ireland where abortion still remains an offence. Theresa May is bound to be tested on this subject over the upcoming weeks.
But where does that leave Gibraltar?
Gibraltar, much like Ireland and Northern Ireland, has very strong ties to religion with many laws woven by religious beliefs. Such as abortion which carries a punishment of life imprisonment, the same punishment for those who are to assist an abortion.
A recent BBC article highlighted the problems local women, families, face should they want to take this procedure. The same article also stated the following:
“One 2018 survey by GBC, the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, suggested about 77% of people in Gibraltar would support legalisation in certain circumstances – such as in cases of rape or to protect a pregnant woman’s life.’
‘Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme the government had “to deal with the moral aspects” of the debate over abortion laws and “do so in a way that takes into account the religious sensitivities that might be in this community”.”
It is almost incredulous, that this survey included that these “certain circumstances” included rape and to protect a pregnant women’s life, and 23% of those polled still disagreed with it.
The fact that I see this as incredulous is down to my own personal beliefs. However, they are my beliefs as an individual, and I accept that there are those who feel the same and many others who will have conflicting opinions based on their feelings, way of life, religion, or whatever it is that factors their decision making, and that is completely fine.
It brings to mind Free Will. Being able to act at your own discretion, independently. If you feel something is in the best interests of your health, your life, then why should not act upon it?
Gibraltar, unfortunately, still remains hugely dictated by religion and faith. Government decisions and laws are still massively swayed by the influence of the Churches doctrine.
The way I see it religion is a belief system, there are a great number of different beliefs, as individual members of society we don’t band together to lament the beliefs of others. When it comes to religion we consider ourselves to be multi-cultural, accepting of others, to let others live how they chose and believe as they chose to believe. So why should we not extend the same courtesy, allow those to make decisions which will directly affect their lives to make them.
If Ireland are strong enough to cast aside religious aspersions, and make significant changes to their system, then surely we should be strong enough to do the same. As a society we should feel protected by our Government, ensured that our requirements to live the best life possible are met, and not made to feel condemned by those who do not agree with our decisions.