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PN’s Stephen Spiteri Warns Against ‘Selection From Conception’ As MPs Prepare To Debate Genetic Testing

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As Maltese MPs prepare to debate an IVF bill that will allow couples to test embryos for serious genetic disorders prior to implantation, the Nationalist Party is sending out strong signals that it could vote against it.

In an apparent reference to the bill, the PN’s health spokesperson Stephen Spiteri warned against “being selective from conception”.

“Life is precious from the very beginning,” Spiteri said. “We all agree that everyone has the right to live but this doesn’t only apply from birth.”

“Being selective from conception goes against the principle of equality that we praise so highly. We have a duty to protect all lives from their most vulnerable stage. Success isn’t only obtained through perfection. Unless we keep this in mind as a point of departure, everything else will collapse and we will be left with empty words.”

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech also warned on Xtra last night that some amendments being proposed by the government aren’t linked to helping couples have children but “the selection of embryos and the selection of life”.

“We want to help people have children but life also has value for us… these are decisions that impact life and on this aspect, the PN has always been clear that it seeks the protection of life from conception to death,” Grech said.

If the bill passes into law, prospective parents will be allowed to screen their embryos prior to implantation. Health Minister Chris Fearne has said this will be limited to prospective parents with a history of serious monogenic disorders, such as gangliosidosis, Huntington’s Disease and Finnish Nephrotic Syndrome.

Health Minister Chris Fearne

Health Minister Chris Fearne

This will come as a massive help to those wh able to undergo IVF without fear that they may give birth to a child with a deadly condition.  

Any unwanted embryos found to contain genes for these disorders will not be discarded but will be cryopreserved in the faint hope that someone will one day choose to adopt them and give birth to them.

 Fearne has defended this unorthodox decision on the grounds that people may want to adopt these embryos if and when advances in medical science make the condition treatable.

Do you agree with the proposed IVF law? 

READ NEXT: Malta Central Bank ‘Told Telecoms Operators To Stop Surcharging Customers For Electronic Payments'

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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