The Nationalist Party has played down a former candidate’s call for disciplinary action to be taken against two of its young politicians for espousing pro-choice views.
“The PN is open to all people of goodwill who want a change in Malta,” a spokesperson for the party told Lovin Malta when asked whether disciplinary action will actually be taken.
“We discuss ideas, not people. The party embraces all those of goodwill who may have reservations on one topic but share the general drive for a better Malta. You can join the conversation at www.kunilbidla.com.”
Yesterday, former candidate Herman Farrugia called for disciplinary action to be taken against current candidate Emma Portelli Bonnici and political research president Martina Caruana for their pro-choice views, arguing that such ideologies go against the PN’s statute.
“The PN’s statute says all party members have a sacrosanct obligation to protect life from conception to its final breath,” he said.
“Naturally, Bernard Grech has conveniently forgotten about this, probably because he has been misguided by the president of ‘political research’ and her friend, a pro-choice candidate who is paradoxically coordinating the party’s work on [the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry outreach programme] #NeverAgain.”
Yesterday, Portelli Bonnici opened up about how she has been insulted over the years for speaking her mind.
“I grew up hearing that I was too much of every adjective. ‘Too strong-willed’. ‘Too spirited’. ‘Too opinionated’. ‘Too bossy. ‘Too controversial’. For years, I’ve shied away from expressing my strongest emotions,” she said.
“When I was eight years old and was abused, I was told not to speak. When I was called derogatory terms during my activism years, I took the high road. When I launched my election campaign and I was met with all sorts of personal attacks, I kept quiet.”
“For the last five months, I have been repeatedly harassed and inundated with abusive and threatening language intended to intimidate me and instigate violence against me. I have thus far ignored such attempts. I have remained, and will remain, determined to serve my country through my unwavering principles.”
She said that while activists who advocate for controversial issues often face vicious abuse, including abuse aired at their loved ones, they get involved anyway because they can see people’s pain firsthand.
“It comes from an inherent obligation that you cannot stand still while others suffer,” she said. “You have every right to disagree with any cause I support, but you have no right to call for my destruction.”
“As the Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulous once wrote – what didn’t you do to bury me, but you forgot that I was a seed,” she concluded, sharing a clip of her life that was aired on NET TV earlier this week.
“I am ‘too unflinching’ to ever give up.”
Meanwhile, Caruana shared an inspirational Jane Austen quote about the importance of not giving up.
A number of people have already used the PN’s new Kun Il-Bidla suggestion platform to urge the party to reconsider its rigid stance against abortion under any circumstance.
“I was saddened to hear that the Nationalist Party is against the decriminalisation of abortion,” Christopher Barbara from Doctors for Choice wrote.
“As someone who hears from many Maltese women who need abortions for various reasons, I encourage you to reconsider your position.”
“If you understood the difficulties and stress these women go through you would drop the populist ‘favur il-ħajja’ slogan and do the right thing. You do not have to be in favour of abortion to remove a law that sends women and girls who have abortions to prison.”
Opposition leader Bernard Grech responded that abortion is a “difficult” topic for the PN because it is a “strongly pro-life” party.
“However, we must continue listening to society and finding ways of protecting and empowering those who face unwanted pregnancies,” he said. “I certainly do not want women and girls to be sent to prison. It is worth noting that no women have been imprisoned for abortion in the past 25 years.”
He didn’t specify whether he believes other penalties besides imprisonment should apply for women who have an abortion, or whether doctors who help them should be punished too.
Do you think Malta should decriminalise abortion?