A small UK-based charity that provides financial assistance, practical information and accommodation to women living in countries with “restrictive abortion laws” is offering its services to residents in Gibraltar and Malta as from today.
The Abortion Support Network said anyone in Gibraltar and Malta can now reach out for confidential information about abortion and support, including advice on which clinics the charity works with.
In some cases, the charity could even offer financial help to meet the costs of travel and access to a private abortion, as well as funding for a telephone consultation or counselling session with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a non-profit UK service that provides abortions.
“ASN and our supporters know that making abortion against the law never stops abortion,” the charity’s founder, Mara Clarke, said.
“It makes abortion inconvenient for those with financial and other supports, and catastrophic for those who are marginalized, at risk, or poor.”
“It means that when faced with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, women with money have options and women without money have babies – or do desperate or dangerous things to try and self-abort.”
The UK charity’s announcement was welcomed by pro-choice campaigners in Gibraltar.
“Choice Gibraltar are extremely grateful that ASN have stepped in to support those women who may be affected with an unwanted pregnancy and have nowhere to turn,” said a spokesperson for Pro-Choice Gibraltar.
“We hope that Gibraltar will change its approach to its human rights obligation in the very near future.”
A spokesperson for No More Shame Gibraltar added: “No More Shame is delighted with the support from ASN for the women of Gibraltar and their sterling work.”
“Especially welcome is access to the BPAS helpline, which will offer free and confidential advice at a difficult time for many women.”
Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at BPAS, said: “We are pleased to be working with the wonderful ASN to ensure that women in Malta and Gibraltar have access to the information they need in order to make the decision that is right for them.”
“We share the hope that the time will come when all women living in these countries can receive abortion advice and care at home, where it belongs.”