A national debate on abortion may be on the cards for Malta, at least if Joseph Muscat gets his way – and people aren’t sure how to feel about it.
The outgoing Prime Minister hinted that he had plans to push new civil liberties once he stepped down from his office when he addressed a loyal crowd last Friday in Paola during his last public speech as Labour Party leader.
Now, inside sources have confirmed that one of these new rights Muscat wants Malta to discuss is abortion, one of the most controversial topics on the island, the Times of Malta reported.
While Muscat declined to confirm if he was talking about abortion, he had implied that one of the new rights was related to women’s rights, and was progressive.
“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 had said.
“Looking forward, 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 to civil liberties. Not everyone will see me in a good way when that time comes, but I feel indebted to future generations,” he continued.
The news that Joseph Muscat, who still retains a strong level of popularity regardless of having had to step down in relation to an assassination scandal, was met with horror and disbelief by many.
“Biex taraw what a gutter-level leader Labour had. Corruption, money laundering, assassination planning and execution under his watch. Now abortion! Is it clear now? what rubbish,” one person exclaimed.
“Please go away quietly Dr. Muscat and let your successor govern through his own agenda and not yours,” said another.
“If this story is a truthful reflection of Joseph Muscat’s intentions, then it confirms one thing, that Muscat only ‘uses’ civil liberties when it is either politically expedient or when he needs to distract national attention,” said a third.
Even the Archbishop picked up on Muscat’s hints.
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
Abortion is prohibited in Malta, though more and more activist groups and individuals have called for its introduction to the island in recent years.
However, both Prime Minister-in-waiting Robert Abela has already made it clear that he is anti-abortion, as had Chris Fearne, during last week’s leadership race.
Surveys have consistently shown that the majority of Maltese society, which is staunchly Catholic, remains anti-abortion. However, with Muscat putting it on his agenda, could we be seeing a national debate on the horizon?