The president of Gift of Life, one of Malta’s largest pro-life groups, has come down hard on Opposition leader Adrian Delia’s repeated warnings that a Labour victory at the European Parliament election will bring Malta a step closer towards introducing abortion.
“Speaking in my personal capacity, I think he’s being very disingenuous and gravely irresponsible,” Paul Vincenti told Lovin Malta. “The EU has no competence over our abortion laws and it’s unnecessary for him to create an issue out of this.”
Taking it a step further, Vincenti warned that Delia is actually damaging the impression that the Nationalist Party is a pro-life party
“He shouldn’t be treating such an important issue in this manner,” he said. “Adrian Delia’s trying to turn it into an issue of ‘them vs us’, but abortion shouldn’t be politicised. It’s an issue that should unite the country, not divide us.”
Vincenti added that Delia is being disrespectful towards women who have undergone abortions
“Women who went through this terrible experience feel hurt when they see abortion turned into a vote-catching exercise,” he said. “These women already feel as though they were used, and this is just rubbing salt into their wounds.”
The Gift of Life leader said he agrees that abortion merits a serious debate, but warned that the way Prime Minister Joseph Muscat suggested it “somehow resembled more an echo of the newly formed pro-abortion movement’s battle cry, than a sincere call for calm”.
“How did the PN reach the conclusion that it would be a good idea to pull out the abortion card out on the eve of an EU election, despite it not having any consequences on our abortion laws?” he questioned. “What thought process went into this? It’s either bad reasoning or bad strategy, and Delia would have done well to reach out to pro-life movements beforehand. We never received a call and had no idea he would start speaking this way.”
Vincenti later clarified that he is absolutely in favour of people talking about abortion and politicians speaking out in favour of life and against the “cancer of abortion” but that the issue shouldn’t be used up as a political weapon.
“It is most important that we should discuss it calmly, reasonably and in a fair manner- not in the heat of an electoral campaign, where conclusions and opinions are formed on the basis of mere soundbites,” he said. “Naturally, I believe that politicians should speak out in favour of life and against the cancer of abortion. Faced by an imminent threat to human life, we should all stand up and be counted.”
“However, I am concerned that should we allow too much heat but fail to introduce enough light into the arena of discussion, as in an electoral campaign, we may end up doing more damage than good. This is why I feel so strongly about this matter and why I felt obliged to voice my opinion.
Delia’s argument is based on a clause within the manifesto of the Party of European Socialists (PES), the European political groups that the PL forms part of, which strongly hints at a pro-choice stance.
The PN leader has warned that the European Commission could force member states to introduce abortion if the PES wins a majority of seats this month and earns the right to appoint its ‘Spitzenkandidat’ Frans Timmermans as EC President. A survey in February forecast the S&D will win 149 out of the European Parliament’s 751 seats, down from its current 191.
Delia told Lovin Malta on Monday that such a victory for the S&D would pressure the European Court of Human Rights to force Malta to legalise abortion. The ECHR is established by the European Convention of Human Rights, which was was set up by the Council of Europe and not by the EU.
“If PL wins more seats than PN, I won’t interpret it as a sign that the Maltese public is in favour of abortion, but that we are one step closer towards legalising abortion,” Delia said. “If you’re truly against abortion, then you can’t vote for Timmermans or the Socialist candidates.”
Joseph Muscat has accused Delia of trivialising an important topic as part of a “very short-term and short-sighted survival strategy”.
“It is only those who lack valid arguments resort to scaremongering,” Muscat said.”The government has no mandate to legalise abortion and it is irresponsible of Adrian Delia to make such declarations that will come back to haunt him.”