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Gibraltar – Maternity and Giving Birth

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern coast of Spain. It is a small territory, covering an area of 2.6 square miles, and has a population of around 34,000 people.

In this article, we will explore the options for giving birth in Gibraltar, the process for registering a birth, and the attitudes and legislation surrounding abortion.

Giving Birth in Gibraltar

The vast majority of births in Gibraltar occur in the hospital. There is only one hospital in Gibraltar, the St. Bernard’s Hospital, which is publicly funded and provides maternity services. Private healthcare is also available, but it is not common for women to give birth in private clinics.

Women can choose to have a natural birth or a caesarean section, depending on their personal preferences and medical needs. The hospital has a range of facilities to support natural births, such as birthing pools and equipment for pain relief, including epidurals.

The hospital also has a neonatal unit, which provides care for premature babies or babies with health complications. If a baby needs more specialized care, they may be transferred to a hospital in Spain.

Registering a Birth in Gibraltar

In Gibraltar, the process for registering a birth is straightforward. Parents must register the birth within 21 days of the baby being born.

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To register a birth, parents must provide the following documents:

  • A birth notification form from the hospital or midwife
  • The parents’ passports or ID cards
  • The parents’ marriage certificate (if applicable)

If the parents are not married, the father’s details can still be included on the birth certificate, but he must be present when registering the birth or provide a statutory declaration of paternity.

Once the birth is registered, parents can order copies of the birth certificate for a fee.

Attitudes and Legislation Surrounding Abortion

Abortion is a controversial issue in Gibraltar, and the current laws reflect this. Abortion is illegal in Gibraltar unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother or prevent grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health.

Women who have abortions or assist with abortions can face criminal charges, and there is currently no provision for women to access abortion services in Gibraltar. Women who require an abortion must travel to Spain or the UK, where the procedure is legal.

There have been calls to change the abortion laws in Gibraltar, with some arguing that women should have the right to access safe and legal abortions within their own territory. However, there is also strong opposition to any changes to the current laws, with some arguing that they reflect Gibraltar’s traditional Catholic values.

In conclusion, the options for giving birth in Gibraltar are limited, with most births occurring in the public hospital. The process for registering a birth is straightforward, and parents must do so within 21 days of the baby being born. However, the laws surrounding abortion in Gibraltar are strict, with the procedure being illegal except in very limited circumstances. Women who require an abortion must travel to another country to access the service.

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