The Malta Independent 29 September 2021, Wednesday

The time has come to legalise abortion

Alice Taylor Sunday, 17 September 2017, 08:46 Last update: about 5 years ago

It has been several months now since the morning-after pill was finally licensed for sale in Malta. I use the word licensed because it was always legal in other forms and dosages, it just wasn't licensed in that specific dose and for that specific purpose. After this milestone, all of us knew that it would only be a matter of time before the highly controversial issue of abortion reared its head.

This week, members of the National Youth Parliament called for an opened dialogue and consultation on the topic of abortion - and about time too. Alongside asking for discussion on abortion, they also expressed the desire to ban the showing of a film known as "The Silent Scream", which is shown to 14-year-olds in schools. This film is an utterly vile piece of propaganda which seeks to shock, scare, and disgust children as well as manipulate their opinions and emotions through what we would now call "fake news".


To quote one of the favourite stories of the Pro-Life brigade from Matthew Chapter 7: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."

Of course, you can imagine that this was met with the usual cacophony of irrationality. Cries of "baby murderer" and other insults and threats that I cannot repeat here. The extreme levels of utter hypocrisy exhibited by these extremist in their ruthless effort to stamp out any mention of abortion is utterly breathtaking. The most fundamentally hypocritical aspect of it is the vociferous espousal of the idea that all human life is sacred from the moment of conception, while simultaneously showing horrifically callous levels of indifference to human life, once it has taken its first breath outside the womb.

In my mind, there is not a more extreme example of total hypocrisy than "right-to-lifers" who scream from the rooftops that life is sacred, but do not care about a) the life of the woman and b) the life of the being once it has been born. Encouraged by hate-spewing public figures (you know who you are) and perhaps the biggest hypocrites of them all, religious leaders - their deranged and anger filled disciples somehow seek to provide justification for their cruel and often violent words.

But there is no justification. You cannot present yourself as a guardian of human life, as a voice for the defenceless, and as a champion of standing up for the rights of the unborn, yet at the same time refuse to acknowledge life-threatening situations that may affect the mother, or threaten violence to people who advocate for pro-choice. These people harp on about life being sacred yet these are the same people that send threats to people like me, the same people that comment that migrants should be sent home, or drowned at sea, and the same people who, no doubt, happily drive their cars over the speed limit after several Cisks.

It seems that life is only defendable if it is foetal life because once born, it appears that it becomes no longer sacred. These radical hypocrites are ready to withhold abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or cases where the birth directly threatens the life of the mother. Was the mother not once a foetus? Was she not once a mass of cells? So, you cared about her welfare at that point, but now she is in a life-threatening situation or has been violated, you suddenly do not care. It seems that dogged adherence to factually incorrect and morally reprehensible dogma far surpasses any capacity for logic or common sense.

The fact of the matter is that there is no one on this planet who has the right to intrude upon a woman's most intimate decision regarding her own body, her welfare, the welfare of her foetus, and the wellbeing of her family. You cannot judge someone until you are in their shoes and to do so and to condemn someone because of a choice they want to make is a violation of their mind and their body.

Before any proper debate on abortion is started in Malta, we need to put in place proper education because all I see in the news and on comments boards is gross misinformation on both sides. There is no understanding, no grasp, or no effort to educate people on the true facts. All we have is hysterical ramblings from pro-life NGOs and the pushing of factually incorrect propaganda in schools. We need to start with educating people on the science behind reproduction, as well as making some drastic changes to laws on sexual health.

May I suggest that the age of consent is lowered to 16? If you think that there is a single young person on this planet that would be put off having sexual intercourse because they have not reached the legal age limit yet, then I am sorry to break it to you but you are sorely mistaken. All that lowering the age limit will do is take away some of the stigma surrounding it and allow sexually active youngsters to feel comfortable enough to approach their GP, teachers, or family members to discuss sexual issues. Secondly, contraception should be free of charge including the morning-after pill. If you make it free and accessible without having to answer 1000 questions, be frowned upon, or have to fork out €20 a month, it may help reduce the amount of accidental pregnancies.  

Once proper, unbiased sex education has been started, once contraception is more freely available and once the stigma surrounding sex has been reduced, then it is time to legalise the right of a woman to terminate a foetus if it threatens her life, or if the pregnancy is a result of a violent violation of her body.

If you do not agree with this, then I suggest that you avoid having an abortion, but do not seek to impose your hypocrisy and arrogance onto someone else whose situation you could never, ever hope to understand. There are no ifs and no buts - the life of the woman far surpasses the rights of some cells, and that will always remain the case. It is often the case that an abortion is the lesser of two evils, and you have no right to condemn anyone for taking that decision.

There is a small minority of radical extremists that are fighting hard to not only continue the violation and complete disregard of women's rights, but that are seeking to keep this country in the dark ages. Every step forward in other social policy areas is hampered by the voices of these hysterical few. Thankfully, times are changing and the younger generation are able to think rationally - and I say to the vast number of you that are pro-choice in secret, don't let these people intimidate you with their words, or manipulate you with their propaganda.

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