[WATCH] Grech: abortion law a deterrent 'but PN doesn’t want women imprisoned'

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech compares abortion prohibition to laws against illegal parking, saying it serves as a deterrent against the act

The Opposition Leader Bernard Grech has said the law banning the termination of pregnancies serves a deterrent for those seeking abortions, and so should not be amended.

“It’s the principle that counts, you get fined for illegal parking not because authorities want to fine you, but to prevent you from parking illegally, and so the law only serves as a deterrent,” he said.

Interviewed by Karl Buttigieg, Grech said the Nationalist Party believes in protecting human life from conception.

“We want to protect life, and we believe in that value,” he said.

Grech said that while the party is against abortion, it cannot ignore the pleas of women who seek the procedure, stating the party will strive to understand the challenges they face.

He also said the country must discuss the circumstances which lead to abortion, stating that sexual health must no longer remain a taboo. “For example, we want contraceptives like condoms and the morning after pill to be free for everyone over the age of 16.”

He also called out the Labour Party for refusing to take a stand on the issue, and brushing it under the carpet.

On the decriminalisation of cannabis, Grech said the PN has consulted with a number of stakeholders and entities, and will be issuing its position in the coming days.

“We do not want responsible use of cannabis, but responsible decisions to be taken on it,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, the Prime Minister Robert Abela called out the Opposition for refusing to submit its feedback on the White Paper.

After MaltaToday reported that police are investigating claims that minister Carmelo Abela was an accomplice in the failed heist on HSBC Bank’s main office 11 years ago, Grech said Robert Abela must now take a decision.

“If the PM is not doing anything, we now have to ask what interests does he have in not doing anything?”

Grech was also asked to react to last Sunday’s MaltaToday survey, which showed Labour leading the polls with around 39,000 votes.

He said that the party’s message is not reaching enough people, blaming the government’s larger marketing budget, and its “control over the national broadcaster”.

“It’s not what we say about the survey, it’s what we do about it. We will continue to roll out our proposals, we will continue to have new candidates and we will not stop, because we have the obligation to be an alternative government,” he said.

Grech also said the Labour government has allowed for the situation in Gozo to deteriorate, pledging to regulate development if the PN is elected into government.

“Labour allowed the situation to degenerate. We want to beautify the island, which is not what the government did,” Grech said.

He said government has no vision when it comes to the island, stating no opportunities to grow and advance in Gozo have been provided to young people.