Being open to pro-abortion arguments contradicts a defence of the right to life | Edwin Vassallo

By refusing to answer in a clear and unequivocal way against abortion when probed, Joseph Muscat shows the true nature of his regime

If the prime minister were a man of substance, he would be against abortion at all costs.

If he, in principle, believed that abortion is the murder of the innocent, he would have been ready to say no in any occasion or circumstance.

If he was ready to uphold this principle, he could have further shown his allegiance to the principle of equality, he would make it a point of upholding the right for life of a defenceless child in his/her mother’s womb. Equality should mean equality in every right, including that of defending the defenceless.

If Muscat truly was a statesman who values the value and preciousness of life, he would have stated that he was against abortion as a matter of principle. He would have declared that his hands will never be washed with the blood of innocents. I am stating these accusations in the light of the Prime Minister’s reaction after receiving the notification from the European Commissioner for Human Rights, in a letter dated 5 December, which recommended that “the current prohibition regime” be addressed through an open and informed public debate, leaving no space for stigmatisation or threats to those engaged therein.

“In this context, I would like to recommend that appropriate measures be adopted in order to decriminalise abortion and facilitate access to safe and legal abortion care on women’s request in early pregnancy, and therefore throughout pregnancy in order to protect every woman’s health and life and to ensure freedom from ill-treatment. This implies ensuring accessibility and availability of legal abortion services in practice,”

To all this the Prime Minister replied in a letter dated 8 January, with these words: “Nonetheless, my Government neither has a political mandate to open a debate on access to abortion, nor the support of the public opinion on this matter.”

This reply shows that the Prime Minister is not against abortion through conviction, as much as through convenience. In other words, how will the Prime Minister’s conviction change if public opinion changes? Will he still favour defending life at all costs, or will he go running after votes, ignoring the most vulnerable members of our society? We know from past experiences that for Joseph Muscat, the end justifies the means. I sincerely hope that I am wrong, but past experience should teach us that nothing can be taken for granted under this administration.

Nor should we take for granted the Prime Minister’s declaration to the European Commissioner for Human Rights, when taking into consideration Minister Helena Dalli’s recent declaration that she is ready to listen to both sides of the argument, whereby declining to take a clear pro-life position.

Being open to pro-abortion arguments is a clear contradiction with the declared intent of upholding the right for life. What should be made clear is that abortion is the murder of innocent lives and therefore incompatible with our values as a society that cares for the vulnerable.

By refusing to answer in a clear and unequivocal way against abortion when probed, but rather showing his disposition to pander to the populist vote, Muscat has shown the true nature of his regime: one based on disregarding values and principals in favour of instant popularity.

As a politician, I am perfectly conscious of the need to cater to the people’s needs and wishes. But one must always keep in mind that it is our duty as politicians to give precedence to the most vulnerable.

Saving lives is more honourable than winning votes, after all we have all been chosen by our electors to do our duty, namely, first and foremost to be strong enough to defend what is right rather than being populist.

Edwin Vassallo is a Nationalist MP

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