Abortion bogeyman rears its head early into Comodini Cachia’s bid to lead Opposition

Comodini Cachia’s first statement on Facebook since being nominated by MPs to become Opposition leader is a disavowal of abortion

Therese Comodini Cachia
Therese Comodini Cachia

The Nationalist MP being proposed to take over Adrian Delia’s role as Opposition leader has denied being in favour of abortion.

In a Facebook status post, human rights lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia declared that she was “not in favour of abortion. Is that clear enough?!” in reply to claims made on social media groups loyal to Delia.

Comodini Cachia was yesterday named as the MP enjoying the support of some 17 MPs who clinched a no-confidence vote against Delia in a parliamentary group meeting this week. But the President of the Republic is still meeting individual MPs to determine whether Delia does not enjoy the support of his MPs.

Abortion – a favourite taboo often weaponised against Maltese politicians of all hues – has long been part of the more conservative PN’s arsenal in denigrating enemies. Yet in her first political pronouncement since her unofficial ‘appointment’ as prospective Opposition leader, Comodini Cachia’s declaration takes place in a different climate in Malta, partly for its irrelevance to the current crisis, and partly because of the growth of Maltese pro-choice voices.

Comments on Facebook in reaction to Comodini Cachia’s statement took umbrage at her statement, amongst them vocal members from pro choice coalitions.

“Of course, you come from a sheltered life and you don’t have the slightest idea of the situations that there are out there, in the real world! Populism and ignorance at its best! Also, just FYI, according to the UN human rights committee back in 2019, abortion is a human right!”

“You’ve barely been at it for 48 hours, and you’ve already taken into that boorish demeanour like the rest of Malta’s political class.”

“Wow, this is so disrespectful to all Maltese women fighting for their reproductive rights…. No discussion there.”

“On behalf of all females, thank you for increasing depression and potential suicide attempts by women who will not be allowed to do as they please with their bodies.”

Comodini Cachia had publicly criticised Delia throughout his tenure. She joined other PN MPs in voting in favour of a bill to protect victims of domestic violence, despite Delia warning it will be the first step towards the legalisation of abortion. She also opposed his stance against a legal notice granting 100 hours of leave to same-sex couples seeking IVF treatment abroad.

Like all MEPs, Comodini Cachia continued on a tradition of Maltese politicians who indiscriminately vote against any sort of reference to reproductive rights in European Parliament votes and motions that do not even strictly concern abortion. In one case of mistaken abstention on an amendment that called for access to reproductive rights services for women, Comodini Cachia felt she had to justify her ‘mistake’ by saying that there was a technical problem with the registration of her vote.

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