ABORTION for and against

Gill Temple
ABORTION for and against

I recently heard two very good arguments put forward by three women that were talking about the abortion issue in Gibraltar. An issue that was raised in 2018 and will no doubt become an election issue this year.

 First on stage was a very presentable young lady that gave her views based on her own personal experience. She told the audience that she having been married they decided it time to want to start a family. At only a few weeks pregnant she tragically miscarried. It was obviously a terrible time for her and her husband, but she managed to eloquently tell her story of her grief. A few months later she again tried for a baby and this time she carried her child having scan after scan to check on his wellbeing, but had to have her child induced at 7 months as there were complications.

She spoke of her ordeal and of the fight within her little son who had been premature and developed inside the incubator. She ended her talk telling the audience that her son was viable and a human being, and that life stated at the moment of conception. A photo of her beautiful boy flashed across the screen, and yes he was adorable.

The other side of the argument was presented by two young very brave women both with different stories about their abortions, and far less able to present their case. The first told of her abusive marriage and feeling trapped with two young children was trying to escape, only to discover she was pregnant again having been raped by her husband against her will. She had her termination based on the welfare of her two children, on her situation in life and her emotional, and financial wellbeing. She had her abortion in Spain.

Close to tears

The other young lady, close to tears told us her story of being married with children and finding herself pregnant. She was then diagnosed with cancer which that reactivated due to her pregnancy hormones. She was advised to abort the foetus so that she could be given treatment and survive herself. She had the abortion in the United Kingdom and is now cancer free after her treatment.

I was summing up the two sides of this delicate argument in my head. Although the first woman who was desperate to conceive and bear a child, spoke better about her experience, had better graphics and was more professional in her approach , she appeared more educated and privileged, after all she had a supportive husband and was able to afford to have two months off work, and she wasn’t being raped night after night.  

The other two women, were less slick in their presentation. They both found themselves in a situation that no one would want to find themselves in. Neither looked happy by the decision to terminate their pregnancy, the point was they had no other choice, in their opinion ( and that of the doctor that signed off the abortion paperwork) No doubt they might have thought twice if they lived the life of the first woman on stage.


It is my opinion that if the pro life campaigners can bring forward their members that have a rotten hand of cards dealt to them, and still happily went ahead with a pregnancy they could not afford, did not want, was forced upon them and ruined the woman’s life and that of her born children further, they would have a better argument.  

The pro choice side, might do better to look at the graphics of their opposition and tell the audience how many weeks gone they were when they had their abortion. Was the termination that of a bunch of cells, or a baby that can yawn, with a bobble hat on? If we the audience are to be emotionally swayed by photos of cuteness, surely it is better for us to understand what it is we are talking about. After all, if we are talking about something with no brain, no arms or legs or are we talking about a gurgling tot with a cute smile.

I found the whole subject of massive interest. It was wonderful that we could hear both sides of the argument and try to make informed choices.

As the talk ended , another conversation took place next to me. A lovely old women in her 90’s sitting in the seat beside me, moved her walking stick to one side and leant towards me, and said to me directly “You know that my mother had two sons, and two daughters and two self induced abortions using a crochet hook. She nearly died of course, but in those days we weren’t allowed to talk about it, because she could have been arrested” I sat with my mouth open, not quite knowing what to say. How easy it is for us to forget within a generation of the hardships of women from our past in the United Kingdom (obviously not Gibraltar, where it is still illegal.)


Thankfully for the handful of desperate women in Gibraltar they have at least a get out of jail free card. It became legal in 2009 in Spain to have an abortion. A  Spanish bill decriminalized abortion, making it legally accessible to women in the first 14 weeks of their pregnancy.  I find it ironic that Gibraltar does not rely of Spain for anything, including electricity, water, housing, or food, yet when their women are seeking emergency medical treatment or emergency social treatment they have to rely on the Spanish to give them that right , albeit with no emotional support, no social or medical after care.

Banning abortions in Gibraltar doesn’t stop abortions, nor does it save a child’s life. History has shown us that, if a woman is that desperate to go against her natural desire to carry a child, and having the hormones racing around her body, she will put her life in the hands of a Spaniard or a crochet hook.