PN Leader Adrian Delia has said that a vote for the Party of European Socialists, of which the Labour Party forms part, will open up legal challenges to introduce abortion in Malta.
European Parliamentary elections, taking place on 25 May, has seen the emotionally-charged topic of abortion take centre stage thanks to Delia.
Many have been left scratching their heads as to why Delia is choosing to discuss this topic at all, seeing as both major parties have declared they are against it, and more significantly since the EU does not have the competence to impose abortion. Malta even negotiated a specific clause during accession discussions against any form of regulating on abortion coming from the EU.
In the light of this, much of Delia’s political speeches are focused on the issue of abortion. In the manifesto of the Party of European Socialists (PES) the safeguarding of reproductive rights for all European citizens is included. Having signed off on this manifesto, Delia is arguing:
“If you vote for the PL, as part of the Socialist group, you are endorsing their manifesto, which calls for abortion to become a right. The PL has signed hat manifesto, which means that it agrees with it.”
“This is a question of logic. Frans Timmermans wants abortion to become a right. If it becomes a right, ay Maltese citizen can file a case at the European Court of Human Rights to invoke that right. So far, we cannot do this, but it will become possible if abortion becomes a right in Europe.
“We know in what direction this government is heading. It has removed the protection for the unborn child and the definition of mother and father from Maltese Law. In our electoral manifesto we are clear on our stand on abortion, but the socialists are saying something different. And the PL has signed that manifesto.”
Delia points out that he has not heard Muscat declare he is against abortion, only that he does not have the mandate to discuss or introduce it.
He accused the Prime Minister of adjourning Parliament for the session where they were due to debate Embryo protection, saying Muscat does not want to discuss the issue.
When such accusations on abortion where brought to Muscat for the Prime Minister’s interview, he began by saying the provisos sent to the PES on abortion and taxation when signing its manifesto.
“This is not a question of the PES being pro-abortion and the EPP [European People’s Party, which the PN forms part of] being against it. In the case of the PES, most of the members vote pro-choice and in the EPP there are about 60 per cent who are pro-choice and 40 per cent pro-life.
“For Delia these elections are not about Muscat versus Delia but a referendum on abortion in order to bring the conservatives back to the Party. I think this is a short-sighted tactic. Abortion deserves a serious debate in a country but the government does not have a mandate for it. However, I will obviously not stop the debate that the different civil society groups are raising. I just remind people that our current President, George Vella, was very categorical in his words and that an abortion law will not be signed on his watch. This was a sign which confirms our mandate.”