A former Nationalist Party candidate has said she cannot understand the party’s recent call for free contraception seeing as it had dismissed her exact same idea last month.
Tiffany Abela-Wadge recounted how she had given an interview to an online media house in which she called for basic contraception to be made widely available, a proposal that had been made years earlier by the PN’s youth wing MŻPN.
Afterwards, PN secretary-general Francis Zammit Dimech called her in and ticked her off for holding an interview without first getting the party’s opinion. Abela-Wadge said Zammit Dimech also warned her that the topic she spoke about “wasn’t on the party agenda”, a version of events the PN secretary-general contests.
The incident gave Abela-Wadge a bad taste in the mouth and she ended up withdrawing her PN candidature.
“Zammit Dimech told me not to speak about it because it isn’t on the party’s agenda,” Abela-Wadge told Lovin Malta. “I don’t know what changed in the past month.”
She said she suspects the PN may have come up with this proposal as a rebuttal to independent MP Marlene Farrugia’s bill calling for the decriminalisation of abortion.
In fact, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said last Sunday that free contraception could reduce the demand for abortion.
“I welcome Bernard Grech’s statement with open arms, no matter how he reached that conclusion,” Abela-Wadge said. “At the end of the day, the PN is now calling for free contraception – what convinced them to do so is another issue.”
She added that other types of contraception, including contraceptive implants and tubal ligation, need to be placed on the agenda too.
“Women who don’t want to get pregnant are more likely to use implants than the pill because the procedure only needs to be carried out every few years, unlike the pill which needs to be taken every day.”
Asked whether the PN should apologise to her, Abela-Wadge said an apology by Zammit Dimech and PN candidate Francine Farrugia (who criticised her) would be ideal, but she won’t “hold her breath”.
Zammit Dimech reiterated that when he called in Abela-Wadge for a meeting, he only explained to her that all PN candidates must first seek permission from the party’s information office before accepting invitations from third-party media.
“At no stage did I discuss with her, much less interfere as regards, the content of what she spoke or didn’t speak about during a recent television programme in which she took part without seeking beforehand Party authorisation,” he said.
“Nor did I seek to interfere with any thoughts that she may hold on any imaginable issue. As far as I recall from my end, the meeting was courteous and I was surprised to be told later that Tiffany Abela-Wadge has now decided to withdraw her candidature from the Party, which decision is of course respected. Any statement by any person to the contrary unfortunately is an attempt at perpetuating an untruth.”