Marlene Farrugia, the independent MP who has presented a bill calling for the decriminalisation of abortion, has hinted that a referendum on the issue is needed in the face of politicians who are too scared to discuss the topic.
“If you’re cowards and you’re too scared to speak about it in here, leave it to the people out there for this to be discussed,” Farrugia said in parliament.
Speaking in an adjournment speech, Farrugia said the Labour Party and Nationalist were not willing to discuss the subject, noting their silence on the issue. She pointed to Ireland, which also had a referendum to see whether abortion should be decriminalised. That referendum passed and abortion has been decriminalised in Ireland.
Farrugia told parliament that the discussion should not just stop at decriminalisation, but should also encourage debate of potentially regulating the medical procedure.
She also said that the debate should extend to other issues facing women, especially cultural perception of the role of women in sexual relationships.
“All this, if taken seriously and without fear of discussing it and taking steps at a national level, will help us lower the number of unwanted pregnancies,” she said.
Farrugia responded to critics of abortions, insisting that because of taboos, women are scared to reach out for advice, noting that it takes a lot for people to undergo the procedure in the first place. She also dismissed suggestions that people will abort at nine months.
“What woman is going to carry a child for nine months and then kill it?” she said.
It seems that for now, government and opposition are reluctant to discuss the issue with an election expected to take place this year or early next year.
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.
How would you vote in a referendum on the decriminalisation of abortion?