Former PN MP hits out at Tonio Borg for anti-abortion tirade: 'Ugly and distasteful'

Therese Comodini Cachia lambasts former European Commissioner Tonio Borg after penning legal opinion piece slamming activist efforts to reform Malta’s abortion laws

Therese Comodini Cachia
Therese Comodini Cachia

Former Nationalist Party MP Therese Comodini Cachia hit out at ex-EU Commissioner Tonio Borg for penning an opinion piece on the Times of Malta saying that Malta should not introduce ‘abortion on demand’.

Comodini Cachia took to Twitter on Thursday to express her distaste for the way the piece tackled the sensitive abortion debate being played out in Malta.

“It’s ugly and distasteful to render the sensitive debate into an ‘us and them’ fight, putting women vs unborn, using the ‘abortion on demand’ example to dogmatically close debate while forgetting that too many women have faced a ‘not on demand’ loss of an unborn child,” she wrote.

In his opinion piece, Borg heavily criticised a judicial protest filed by women’s rights activists to remove Malta’s blanket ban on abortion, but also to decriminalise and legalise the procedure.

“The argument that in Malta abortion is illegal to the point of risking the mother’s life is not legally correct. But it will be used again and again to persuade others to introduce abortion on demand,” he wrote.

Borg is vocal on his views on abortion. In 2005, when he was Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Borg had even proposed entrenching Malta's abortion ban into the Constitution. That private initiative was torpedoed by then Opposition leader Alfred Sant, who insisted the Labour Party will not play ball to entrench the criminalisation of abortion into the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Comodini Cachia, a human rights lawyer, had previously denied being in favour of abortion when she was being touted to take over the role of Opposition leader in the summer of 2020.

Malta’s blanket ban on abortion was put into the international spotlight over the past week after an American tourist was denied an abortion despite the risk of developing sepsis.

Doctors at Mater Dei Hospital would not terminate the pregnancy because the foetus still had a heartbeat despite the woman losing all amniotic fluid and having a detached placenta.

READ ALSO | Andrea Prudente: ‘Malta draws you in, only to place you in a position of near death and peril’

Although the foetus still had a heartbeat, Maltese doctors informed the couple it had zero chance of survival. And yet, doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy because of Malta's draconian abortion law that makes no exceptions.

Malta is the only country in the European Union that restricts abortion under all circumstances. Doctors told the couple that they could only intervene if there was an imminent risk on the life of Prudente. She was being treated with antibiotics to prevent the onset of sepsis while doctors waited for the foetus to die naturally.

The pregnancy was medically terminated last week at a hospital in the Spanish island of Mallorca.

READ ALSO: Health Ministry orders review of law after American tourist was denied abortion in Malta