Huge turnout for pro-life rally in Gibraltar, ahead of major abortion referendum

Hundreds of pro-life campaigners gathered in the city of centre of Gibraltar yesterday to encourage people to vote against introducing abortion to the region in a referendum next month. 

Roughly 1% of the Gibraltar’s population were in attendance carrying signs reading “Love Them Both,” “Pro-life Rock,” and “Pro-life is pro-women”. Over 500,000 would be in attendance if the UK’s pro-life march had the same proportional representation.

Members of Parliament voted 10-7, on 12 July 2019, to amend the Crimes Act to introduce abortion to the British Overseas Territory. However, rather than force the law through, a referendum will be held on 19 March 2020 due to a successful campaign from the Gibraltar Pro-life Movement.

The proposed changes would allow abortion in cases where a woman’s mental or physical health are at risk, with the approval of two doctors. Unborn babies would continue to be protected after the twelfth week of pregnancy.

6285 citizens signed a petition calling for any change in law to recognise “the pre-born’s indisputable right to life,” prompting MPs agree to hold a referendum on the issue.

The ballot paper question has been set as “Should the Crimes Amendment Act 2019, that defines the circumstances which would allow abortion in Gibraltar, come into force?” It will also allow those who are aged 16 and over to vote.

Lord Alton, who has spent over 40 years tirelessly championing the pro-life cause and is a patron of the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement, was one of the key speakers at the event, which had the underlying message that Gibraltar should ‘save babies and vote no’.

Lord David Alton

Addressing a packed Grand Casemates Square, Lord Alton outlined how the unintended consequences of the abortion law in Great Britain had resulted in over 9,000,000 abortions since 1967 and over 200,000 annually, or over 600 each day, in England and Wales.

He said: “Gibraltar’s new law effectively allows abortion on demand, as in the UK”.

“Science teaches us that life begins at fertilisation. And science has moved on dramatically since abortion was legalised.

“When the UK’s obsolete limits were being set, we didn’t know what was happening in the womb. We do now. This is a law which flies in the face of science and humanity. Today we know so much more about the undeniable humanity of the child in the womb.”

Claire Culwell travelled from the US to share how she had survived an abortion that killed her twin, her premature birth and adoption by a loving family.

Encouraging people to vote in defence of the unborn, she said: “I am a twinless twin in the name of choice. I am one of many survivors of abortion. There is a domino effect to abortion. Not just the woman and the child but it is generation after generation that we see missing in the name of choice.

“You can do something about it here in Gibraltar. You can vote NO on 19th March. Please keep up your work and thank you for your commitment. You are fighting for the lives of people like me.”

Bernadette Goulding of Women Hurt spoke about her abortion experience and the lifelong challenges that resulted from it. She challenged the false message of choice saying:

“I was offered no other alternative – no other choice. I regret that bitterly.”

Baby boy born with severely swollen head due to rare condition is defying the odds five weeks after birth after parents refuse abortion

A baby boy born with a swollen head is defying doctors who told his mother to terminate her pregnancy because he wouldn’t survive birth. 

Doctors did not expect Lorenzo Pontone to survive when they diagnosed him with severe hydrocephalus – a condition which causes fluid to build up in the skull, making the brain swell – at his 20-week scan and offered his parents an abortion.

However, the couple wanted to give Lorenzo a chance – despite pressure from doctors to abort. 

His father, Fernando Pontone said: “To me it sounded like the first thing they said to do was terminate.

“In the end, we just didn’t think it was fair. He was halfway to being born. He had arms and legs and a face. We couldn’t kill him.”

His mother, Nichaela Pontone said: “While we considered it [abortion] because doctors said it was the best thing to do, we decided to let nature take its course because he was half way there.”

Lorenzo was delivered, on 8 January, by caesarean section after 36 weeks because his head was growing so quickly. 

Fernando said: “They took him out and rushed him straight to this little table, as it took a good few minutes to get him round.

“It felt like an eternity until we heard him cry and the tears of joy started.”

During the first two weeks of his life, Lorenzo has needed brain surgery, support with his breathing and was unable to close his eyes.

However, the little fighter has since gone on to defy the odds and amaze his parents and doctors by being able to breathe and close his eyes independently.

He has also had a tube, known as a shunt, inserted into his head which will drain the fluid from his brain down into his stomach, meaning that the swelling on his head will reduce with time.

Nichaela and Fernando don’t know how the condition will affect their son long term but are proud of their “miracle” baby for even surviving birth.

Fernando said: “I’m so glad we didn’t go through with a termination…

“As soon as we saw him we fell in love with him. I couldn’t stop shivering, we were crying our eyes out. We’re so proud of him.”

The couple hope to move Lorenzo to the Huddersfield-based Hospice when he is discharged from hospital, as a halfway house before eventually bringing him home.

The little boy has been introduced to his brothers and sister, Koby, 12, Lily, 10, Thomas, eight, Bella, five and Gino, 10 months.

Nichaela said: “He’s brilliant, he’s very demanding with food and his brothers and sisters just love him.”

According to the Hydrocephalus Association, hydrocephalus affects around one in 1,000 babies, making it as widespread as Down’s syndrome and more common than spina bifida.

Nichaela has created a Facebook group detailing Lorenzo’s battle with the condition.

She told the Mirror: “I want to raise awareness about hydrocephalus because I’ve spoken to quite a few other mums about it that have had kids with it or similar brain conditions.

“It’s not well known and I also want to show that doctors aren’t always right when they give you worst case situations.”

She added: “He’s proved a lot of doctors wrong so far. They said he would not be able to breathe on his own, they said he would have seizures. He hasn’t had any seizures since he was born.”

Lorenzo’s story is similar to that of many other babies, including seven-year-old Noah Wall whose parents were asked on five separate occasions to consider abortion. 

Doctors gave Noah Wall, who was born with just 2% of his brain and paralysed from the waist down, just a few days left to live. 

However, Noah moved his foot for the first time after undergoing pioneering therapy in December.