Church commission issues new missive on ‘illicit’ fertility technology

In a position paper calling for the respect for life, the Maltese Church's environment commission said that not every technological advancement in science and technology “is licit”

Denise Grech
30 September 2017, 10:26am
The Maltese government has yet to discuss the re-introduction of embryo freezing, after it was banned in 2012 by the Nationalist administration
The Maltese government has yet to discuss the re-introduction of embryo freezing, after it was banned in 2012 by the Nationalist administration
The Church Environment Commission (KA) has called for greater appreciation for the value of life, in a missive on advances by the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

“If we are not careful, there is the risk that the pharmaceutical and medical industry end up giving priority to economic interests rather than to moral rules and values,” the commission, a think-tank for the Maltese Catholic archdiocese said.

Reiterating the Vatican’s line against IVF and embryo freezing, the Church commission said “every effort” must be made to “overcome infertility, if anything to sooth the pain of what concerned couples endure”.

But it warned that not every technological advancement in science and technology “is licit”.

More research on methods that overcome infertility without jeopardizing human dignity needs to be undertaken and invested in, the Commission said.

The Maltese government has yet to discuss the re-introduction of embryo freezing, after it was banned in 2012 by the Nationalist administration when it introduced IVF on the national health register. Artificial insemination in Malta takes place using egg freezing.

In its paper, the Church commission said:

“During the debates about the very early stages of life, the KA cannot accept rhetoric aimed at eliminating guilt feelings by hiding the truth. It strongly believes that a human being’s rights need to be respected, irrespective of size, stage of growth and development, physical or mental ability and condition of health. In a just and democratic society, everybody’s rights are safeguarded, whether one is an adult or a vulnerable creature who cannot defend itself.

“In this aspect, the KA fears that if we are not careful, there is the risk that the pharmaceutical and medical industry end up giving priority to economic interests rather than to moral rules and values. One needs to invest more in research that explores methods which would overcome infertility without jeopardizing human dignity.”

The new Church position paper on “respect for life in all its aspects” also delved on the deleterious effects of construction on Malta’s environment.

“Malta has become a huge building site,” the Church said. “The KA feels that it is high time the Planning Authority becomes more proactive with regard to planning rather than occupying its time processing development applications.”

It called for the involvement of local councils and consultation with local residents.

The KA slammed the Malta Employers Association’s proposals of an unpaid first day of sick leave, calling it inappropriate.

Malta’s progress should not be gauged by how much it resembles other countries, the Curia said, fearing that “any means to reach this end may become justifiable, even in the exploitation of human dignity.”