Grech Mintoff must pay €3,000 for ‘baby-killer’ slur against gay rights movement

Court says conservative activist knowingly made non-factual statements on social media to associate MGRM with funds from American pro choice organisation

On the campaign trail: Ivan Grech Mintoff ran for MEP, unsuccessfully, in 2014
On the campaign trail: Ivan Grech Mintoff ran for MEP, unsuccessfully, in 2014

The Malta Gay Rights Movement has been accorded €3,000 in damages for defamation by a court which found against conservative politician Ivan Grech Mintoff, over defamatory statements he broadcast on YouTube and on Facebook.

The NGO had also sued sued pro-life organisation Gift Of Life, for alleging that the gay rights movement was being funded by the American pro-choice organisation Planned Parenthood – the largest single provider of reproductive health services, including abortion, in the United States.

The MGRM said Grech Mintoff’s defamatory statements included alleging on Facebook that an MGRM representative had admitted “taking money from murdered children to fund her own personal agenda”; stating on television that the MGRM “took money from people who killed children”; and suggesting on Facebook that the MGRM were “in bed with the world’s foremost abortion promoters”.

Grech Mintoff is a former chairman of the adoption board who was not reappointed after he opposed allowing parents in civil unions to adopt children.

Magistrate Francesco Depasquale said Grech Mintoff had made “consciously economical” assertions that were based on substantially incorrect facts, which he knew were not attributable to the MGRM. “Such obfuscation shows that Grech Mintoff wanted to damage the MGRM on the subject of abortion, and this cannot go unpunished… these were serious allegations, suggesting that the MGRM obtained funds generated from abortion services, something that impinged upon the credibility of the organisation.”

MGRM had also filed a libel lawsuit against Gift Of Life for repeatedly alleging in various social media posts that the gay rights group was being funded by women’s health group Planned Parenthood.

MGRM had denied having any ties to Planned Parenthood, and instead it declared that in 2010 it had acquired funds from International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) – which is a separate organisation to Planned Parenthood – to submit proposals to the government on the introduction of the Gender Identity Act. 

IPPF is a pro-choice organisation that advocates for women’s health rights as well as access to contraception and safe abortion services, and is funded by the European Commission and the United Nations Population Fund, amongst other organisations. 

The MGRM said Gift Of Life’s declarations were false and that it never promoted the introduction of abortion to Malta. “MGRM has no position on abortion, and this issue does not even fall within its aims.”

MGRM were represented by lawyers Cedric Mifsud and Gianluca Cappitta.

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