The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

TMID Editorial - PN pushing to make elections about abortion... but it’s not on the table

Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 10:36 Last update: about 11 days ago

The Nationalist Party’s main issue this campaign seems to be abortion... yet abortion isn’t even on the table.

The abortion issue is one that the PN does not shy away from bringing about whenever the party has its back against the wall.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called out PN Leader Adrian Delia on the abortion issue, accusing him of bringing out a panic button, and pressing it. Indeed, this is exactly what it looks like. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has assured that he has no mandate to introduce abortion, and the media houses will keep him to his word on this.

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One must also keep in mind that the majority of MPs are against abortion. Indeed the President is also against abortion. The majority of the Maltese people do not want abortion.

While it is true that the European Socialists manifesto, of which the PL forms part, read that they will ensure that every individual has access to their full sexual and reproductive rights as "every person has the right to decide over their own body,” Muscat has declared, on more than one occasion, that he has no mandate to introduce abortion. PL MEP candidate Alex Agius Saliba has during last week’s debate on Indepth said that the PL told the Party of European socialists that it could never agree with them on the need for the implementation of abortion.

Doctors for choice – who are pushing for the decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion in Malta, last Sunday in an interview with The Malta Independent on Sunday, had themselves recognised that lobbying takes time, indicating that abortion, if it will be introduced, will not be done so now. They had said: “The fact that both parties are against abortion does not preclude us from lobbying and sending messages out there to create pressure,” they said. “Things change and societies change. Our next step is to continue to create a healthy public discussion...”

Continuing to make these MEP elections about abortion is a pointless task, given that abortion is a national issue, and not one the European Parliament can impose on Malta, is a mistake. Indeed if abortion were to be put on the national agenda, it would be a topic for a referendum or a national election, not an EU election.

What could be spurring Delia’s arguments is that PL MEP candidates have not come out en masse against abortion. Indeed many ignored the a pro-life group’s survey which included a question on the matter. In addition, many did not answer this newsroom when we had asked them about it. Indeed they should outright declare their intention so that the people can know their position when casting their vote.

PN Leader Adrian Delia knows that the majority of the Maltese people are against abortion, and this is the basis for his arguments. But May 25 is not a referendum on abortion, and Delia essentially stating that it is might actually fuel the pro-abortion lobby to use the result as a political statement should the PN lose. That could have a backfiring effect against the PN as a party, which does not want abortion introduced.

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