[WATCH] Auxiliary Bishop: 'When you're trying to save a life, you're not destroying another'

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi says saving a pregnant woman whose life was in danger was not tantamount to 'destroying' another life if treatment leads to unintentional death of the baby

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi

Trying to save a mother’s life during pregnancy even if it results in the unintentional death of the baby does not constitute “destroying another life,” Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi has said.

He was referring to the principle of 'double effect' adopted by medical professionals when responding to a question from MaltaToday as to whether abortion was acceptable in cases where the woman’s life is in danger.

The double effect doctrine states that a harmful effect of treatment, even if it results in death, is permissible if it is not intended and occurs as a side effect of a beneficial action.

Galea-Curmi spoke to MaltaToday after touring Dar Tgħanniqa ta' Omm, a maternity home for vulnerable women, in Mosta run by the Life Network Foundation. The foundation opposes abortion and insists life should be protected from conception.

"When you try and save someone, such as a mother’s life, you’re not trying to destroy someone else’s. You’re trying to save it; you should always try and save lives," Galea-Curmi said. "We believe we should do our best to save lives. So, it’s not a question of choosing - destroying this life or that, but always working to save lives."

He said the church was not anti-abortion but pro-life and always tries to promote what is positive, not what is "against something or someone".

"The problem is that they [pro-choice activists] think they have the right to choose which life to protect...  we [the church] believe that we should always do our best to try and save lives," Galea-Curmi said.

Abortion is illegal in Malta even if the pregnancy threatens the woman's life or wellbeing. This state of affairs makes Malta a jurisdiction with the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world that can lead to imprisonment of the woman and her doctor.

However, this has not stopped hundreds of Maltese women every year who seek abortions in the UK or neighbouring Italy.