By Dave Andrusko
The pro-life President of Malta, who is a physician, could not have made his position any clearer this week. After independent MP Marlene Farrugioa surprisingly introduced a Private Member’s Bill on Wednesday to decriminalise abortion, a spokesman for President George Vella told a newspaper his position was unchanged from April 2019: He would have “no other option but to resign” rather than sign such a bill.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna expressed his strong opposition to the proposal. “The womb of a mother is something that is dear and holy, it is there that human life can grow,” he said in a homily. “Let us pray that the womb remains a place of life, not a place where killing takes place.”
The Times of Malta reported that Archbishop Scicluna further
asked how society could make progress on issues such as human dignity and women’s fundamental rights when the price was the killing of innocent lives.
Referring to women who find themselves in difficulties, Mgr Scicluna said all those who make mistakes should be looked at with the look of a mother.
He stressed, however, that choices should always be in favour of life.
The Malta Independent asked Vella in April 2019, shortly after he was sworn in as President, what he would do should he be asked to sign a law introducing abortion in Malta.
“If such a law is passed through Parliament after a debate and a vote and I was asked to sign it, I will have a strong moral objection and my only option would be to pack my things and leave,” he said. “This is another issue I discussed before accepting my nomination: I will never sign such a law, I will not have it on my conscience,” he had replied. “
As The Independent’s Neil Camilleri & Kevin Schembri Orland reported today, “Any Bill that is approved by Parliament has to be signed by the President of the Republic to become law. It is unlikely that the Bill will reach this stage, anyway, given that both main political parties, the PL [Labour Party Partit Laburista] and the PN [Nationalist Party Partit Nazzjonalista], have said they are against abortion and that they do not have a mandate to introduce it.”
They added, “In reality, it is likely that the Bill will not get past committee stage, although it could possibly trigger a national debate”.
That is important for, as Micaiah Bilger explained, Malta has under international pressure to change its protective laws for years. “Until recently, a number of European countries protected unborn babies by prohibiting abortions,” she wrote. “However, Ireland abandoned its pro-life laws in 2018 and Northern Ireland was forced to legalize abortion 2019 by the British Parliament. Abortions are illegal in almost all cases in Poland, but Malta is the only country that fully prohibits abortions in Europe.”