Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has not denied a report in The Sunday Times which quoted sources close to him confirming that his next big plan is to campaign for the introduction of abortion.
In his farewell speech, Muscat pledged to campaign for more civil liberties, specifying the need for women to take decisions freely, prompting many to deduce that he wants to overturn Malta’s outright ban on abortion. “Not everyone will see me in a good way when that time comes, but I feel indebted to future generations,” he said.
Nearly two weeks later, though, Muscat has failed to deny that abortion is the campaign he would like to front
The last 10 days have seen Joseph Muscat dodging questions on the taboo topic, either explicitly or through statements provided by spokespeople.
Questions sent to the former Prime Minister by Lovin Malta have just not been answered at all.
Meanwhile, in a statement sent to the Malta Independent, Mark Farrugia – who served as Chief of Staff after the resignation of Keith Schembri – said Muscat had “no further comments to make”.
Malta is the only country in the European Union where abortion is strictly prohibited and illegal.
A taboo topic that has roots of resistance embedded deep in the island’s religious background, abortion has frequently been met with outright rejection by a number of Maltese politicians, key figures and even voters in numerous recent surveys. Shortly after being sworn in, President George Vella himself had also stated that he would refuse to sign any abortion law, insisting that he’d rather resign.
However, with Muscat hinting at a controversial move towards tackling taboo civil liberties, the A word could soon be making an appearance in debates around the island all over again.
Of course, there are other civil liberties that Muscat could’ve been referring to – from surrogacy and IVF to even hotter topics like euthanasia – but it seems like Malta’s going to have to wait and see what the former Prime Minister’s plan actually involves. And judging by the way Muscat has been dodging questions on the topic, maybe we shouldn’t hold our breath.
Do you think Malta should have a more open discussion on taboo topics like abortion?