President George Vella has once again come under fire for receiving anti-abortion activists at San Anton Palace.
Vella has on many occasions expressed his opposition to abortion under any circumstance, having gone on record several times to state that he would resign from office should he be presented with an abortion Bill to sign into law.
He has also received several anti-abortion activists on a number of occasions.
This afternoon, Vella received a group of activists from the Facebook group ‘Abortion in Malta? Not in my name’, which has come under fire in the past for a lack of tolerance and abusive comments by some of the group’s members.
“It is very concerning that the president continues to openly associate with these individuals who want to roll back progress in civil rights in our country, especially for women and the LGBTI community,” Doctors for Choice said of the meeting.
The group, which advocates for all citizens to have access to sexual health care, including abortion, said the President’s decision to receive the group was all the more insulting when considering that it happened during international pride month.
Furthermore, it noted that the group was “replete with harmful and hateful posts and comments against minorities and vulnerable people in our country”.
“It is definitely not a platform that deserves promotion by the President,” the group said, while questioning whether the government was really a progressive one.
While the President’s role is strictly speaking distinct from government, it is nonetheless meant to be one that encourages national unity.
Like Doctors for Choice, the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) expressed its disappointment at the President’s decision, insisting that it would never “understand our President’s affinity to these extremely homophobic groups”.
“This cannot possibly be intentional, yet that does not make it any less hurtful for the community, which, after all, looks at our President as our head of state and representative,” MGRM said.
It added that MGRM had to date never been invited to any event or meeting held by the President, “very much unlike what happened with previous Presidents”.
MGRM also noted that during the recent State of the Nation conference, organised under the auspices of the President, “there was barely any female representation and no LGBTIQ representation”, despite the fact that members of the LGBTIQ had many valid points to raise.
How do you feel about the President’s handling of the abortion debate? Comment below