Opposition leader Adrian Delia described the upcoming European Parliament and local council election as a “referendum on abortion”, warning that the Labour government is secretly in favour of legalising the practice in Malta.
“No one in the world ever says they’re in favour of abortion but use words such as ‘pro-choice’,” Delia told a political rally in Mellieħa. “That means they’re in favour of the choice to terminate someone’s life, to kill someone. Doesn’t that other person also have the right to choose to live?”
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has repeatedly insisted he is against abortion and had no mandate to legalise it, but Delia argued that his true intentions were exposed last year when presenting a bill which grants more rights to victims of domestic violence and rape.
The majority of the PN parliamentary group voted against this bill because it removed the specific reference to the unborn child as a family member, to be safeguarded from domestic violence, that was present in the old law. Civil liberties Minister Helena Dalli has argued back then that this complaint was frivolous because the only sort of ‘domestic violence’ one can commit on an unborn child in the first place is physical violence on the mother, which is a crime in and of itself.
However, Delia insisted today that the government’s intentions in this regard were more nefarious.
“Under the premise that it is implementing the Istanbul Convention [on domestic violence], which is a good thing, the government removed reference to the unborn child from the law,” he said. “The government said the unborn child was protected elsewhere within Maltese law, but by removing reference to it [from the domestic violence law], it slowly started to undermine its legal protection.”
“It didn’t care that at least half unborn children are women too. What sense does it make to only protect women who can speak for themselves [from domestic violence], but those who cannot do anything to protect themselves?”
Delia also noted that Deputy Minister Chris Fearne had once described the embryo as “eight cells” and that the Party of European Socialists (PES), the EU political grouping the PL forms part of, has strongly hinted at a pro-choice position in its manifesto for the 2019 MEP elections.
“A vote for the government’s MEPs is a vote in favour of abortion, but I can guarantee that all MEPs elected on the PN ticket will convince their friends in Europe that abortion will never be legalised in Malta.”