The new pro-choice lobby group Voice for Choice has criticised Malta’s new President George Vella after he unequivocally stated that he will resign before signing abortion into law.
“We have no doubt that a man of [Vella’s] stature and experience will be more than an asset for the country as a whole,” Voice for Choice said. “As regards to his clear and unequivocal statement on the issue of abortion, we can only refer to it as unfortunate. His call for unity is very laudable, but we cannot have unity while still spreading stigma. “
“Let us not forget that the president’s words also resonate internationally and considering we are the only country with a total ban on abortion in the EU, it is unfortunate that our president has indirectly said that every other EU member state is sanctioning murder.”
“We regret the choice of words, because right of access to safe abortion care is recognised world over by all international health and human rights organisations and is definitively not murder.”
In one of his first comments to the press as President of the Republic, Vella warned that legalising abortion would be akin to legalising murder.
“I believe we should conduct an intensive educational campaign on sexual and reproductive health among youths,” he said. “I’ve been a doctor my whole life and I understand full well about the psychological problems that people who find themselves in this situation go through, but abortion isn’t a solution.”
While all Maltese political parties have come out against the legalisation of abortion, debate on the topic is well underway and a recent survey found that, despite the national taboo, over 40% of University of Malta students would like to see abortion legalised.
Cover photo: Left: The Voice for Choice coalition, Right: President George Vella (Photo: DOI)