The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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‘Life and the people have won’, PN says as it calls on PL to declare it will not introduce abortion

Friday, 23 June 2023, 14:14 Last update: about 13 months ago

The Nationalist Party said that “life and the people” have won after the government announced amendments to a proposal to allow abortions in cases where the prospective mother’s life is in grave danger.

“The amendments presented by the government earlier today are a win over those who want to see abortion introduced in our country,” the PN said in a statement.

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“The amendments also signify another u-turn by Robert Abela’s government,” the party continued.

Health Minister Chris Fearne announced changes to a bill the government had proposed to allow abortions to take place in cases where the prospective mother’s life is at risk on Friday morning.

The amended bill introduced amendments to clarify that a pregnancy termination may only be considered when the mother’s life is at risk, when all other medical practices have been exhausted, and when the pregnancy itself is not viable.

The PN said that it had always been consistent in insisting that the country’s laws should offer legal certainty and protection for pregnant women, the baby in the womb and health professionals in such a case where intervention is deemed necessary to save the woman’s life from clear danger.

The PN said that this is why its parliamentary group unanimously considers the amendment as a “victory for life”, noting that by approving these changes Parliament will be declaring that abortion is not being introduced in Malta.

The PN insisted that Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Labour Party MPs should declare that they will not be looking to introduce any other amendment to the country’s laws to try and introduce abortion in the country in the future.

The PN said that it still is and will remain “the only political force which has consistently declared that it is in favour of life.”

Labour Party

In its own political statement, the Labour Party said that it is, through government, “again bringing about important and historic change.”

“Through the amendments to the criminal code that the government is putting forward, it will be ensured that the changes look out for the pregnant women who could face serious difficulties as a result of medical complication during pregnancy.”

The PL said that at the same time they provide peace of mind that there are the procedures in place to exclude the possibility of abuse.

“There were people who said, including the Opposition, that this change wasn’t needed as the laws are good as they are. The Labour Party in government did not agree. In fact, the government came forward to amend the criminal code after the State Advocate drew attention that, even when the termination of a pregnancy results from a medical intervention that aims to save the life of a mother, the law is broken and the mother and whoever conducted the intervention would be subject to criminal procedures.”

“The Labour Party will remain the party that is not afraid of change, especially when this change is brought about to bring social justice, as these amendments that protect women and professionals do, while providing peace of mind to everyone.”

ADPD

In another political reaction meanwhile, ADPD said that it welcomed the amendments but wanted to see the government be bolder.

ADPD-The Green Party Chairperson Sandra Gauci said while it is good that the Government has reached a position of compromise, it could have been a little bolder and would take steps to decriminalize abortion, as well as permit it in the case of incest or rape as well as in the case of a non-viable pregnancy.

Gauci said that ADPD is the only political party that spoke clearly about abortion in its Electoral Manifesto - although the party Volt Malta had also addressed abortion in its own election manifesto last year.

“This political position of ours as a party has already been defined both through a resolution approved by the Executive of the party some years ago and also in last election’s manifesto,” she said.

Marlene Farrugia

Former PD leader Marlene Farrugia – who had tabled a bill to decriminalise abortion prior to the 2022 general election – meanwhile called the amendments a vote of no confidence in the capacity of Maltese and Gozitan women to choose for themselves.

Farrugia said that the situation today – and which has been further codified with the amendments announced – is such as when a women becomes pregnant, even if this is because they are raped or assaulted by family members or betrayed by a partner – then they lose the right over their body, their privacy, security, and which direction they can take their life in.

Volt Malta

Volt Malta said that the changes to the abortion bill go one step forward and two steps back.

The party “finds it bizarre that under the changes to the bill, if a pregnant person's life is already at risk of death, three doctors still have to approve a procedure for a life-saving abortion.”

“The party reitirates its call for the decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion, and to treat it as an essential healthcare procedure,” it said, expressing that the government had instead missed a golden opportunity to bring about “meaningful change in reproductive rights.”

 

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