Malta’s pro-choice coalition of NGOs Voice For Choice had adopted a sceptical stance in the wake of a report that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat plans to campaign for abortion.
“It is premature for us to comment,” Voice For Choice said. “All we have to say at this point is that women’s rights are not the fiefdom of politicians to be pulled out of the bag at opportune moments.”
“Irrespective of how the discussion on abortion evolves and who pushes it forward, Voice for Choice will remain an independent, non-partisan, autonomous coalition representing the voice of human rights organizations within it.”
Andrea Dibben, chairperson of the Women’s Rights Foundation, which forms part of Voice For Choice, noted that Muscat did not specifically say he plans to campaign for abortion.
Anybody who has the best interests and and the civil liberties of “future generations” truly at heart will promote a culture of life and responsible love where the rights of the unborn are promoted and protected. pic.twitter.com/2UYv2irThC
— Bishop CJ Scicluna (@BishopScicluna) January 11, 2020
In his final speech as Prime Minister last week, Muscat said he intends to campaign for controversial civil liberties when he steps down, stating that he will be more free to speak his mind and explain his evolution of thought on civil liberties.
Without specifying what civil liberties he was referring to, he confirmed they are progressive, admitted they will be controversial and hinted they are related to women’s rights.
“Our society has big and delicate debates that it must carry out about civil liberties where every individual, every man and, above all, every woman, can take their decisions freely,” he said.
“Looking forwards, without the weight of a position and a programme, I will be more free to say everything I believe and how my thoughts have evolved with regards civil liberties. Not everyone will see me in a good way when that time comes, but I feel indebted to future generations.”
Times of Malta then cited sources close to Muscat as confirming that the civil liberty he wants Malta to discuss is indeed abortion. The former Prime Minister has not yet responded to questions by Lovin Malta about whether this is indeed the case.
New Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition leader Adrian Delia have both made it clear that they oppose the legalisation of abortion, while Archbishop Charles Scicluna reacted to Muscat’s speech by stating that “anybody who has the best interests and and the civil liberties of ‘future generations’ truly at heart will promote a culture of life and responsible love where the rights of the unborn are promoted and protected.”