A proposal by independent MP Godfrey Farrugia for Parliament’s health committee to discuss sexual and reproductive health has been shot down due to concerns it could conflict with a bill to decriminalise abortion.
Farrugia proposed this discussion shortly after his partner Marlene Farrugia presented a landmark bill calling for the decriminalisation of abortion.
He proposed a discussion entitled ‘Women’s Health Care: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’, which would have seen stakeholders address the issue in front of the committee of MPs, which includes Farrugia himself.
However, the committee’s chair, Labour MP Silvio Grixti, dismissed his request, citing a ruling by former Speaker Michael Frendo that parliamentary committees cannot discuss issues which have been proposed in a private member’s bill.
Yet Farrugia is contesting this decision, arguing that his proposed discussion is about sexual and reproductive health in general and not about the decriminalisation of abortion.
“I ask you to send this letter to the PL parliamentary group so that it can take the final decision,” he wrote to Grixti, copying PL Whip Glenn Bedingfield in the email.
While the PN has adamantly said its MPs will vote against Marlene Farrugia’s bill, the PL has taken a more cautious stance – criticising Farrugia for proposing the legal changes but not stating how its MPs will actually vote.