[WATCH] Jury out on whether Vella will personally sign PGT rules into law

The President had called embryo freezing a ‘moral travesty’

President George Vella (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
President George Vella (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

President George Vella has insisted changes to the IVF law will be signed, however refusing to say whether it will be him signing off the amendments.

The amendments, which include the introduction of pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos, were approved in Parliament on Wednesday with 66 votes in favour and three against.

"Embryo freezing was introduced to law in the 2018 bill and not now. It had already been introduced," said the President. "The law will be signed."

Before his appointment as head of state, Vella had expressed serious reservations on the IVF law changes pushed by government in 2018. He had branded the IVF bill “a complete travesty of ethics, morality, and human dignity, allegedly to remove ‘discrimination’ imposed by nature herself”.

Pressed by the media on whether he will personally sign the law himself, Vella was cryptic and kept repeating that it would be signed. He was also evasive on whether he would be in Malta to do so.

Any act of parliament requires the President’s signature to become law and refusal to do so, could create a constitutional crisis.

Vella had made himself clear, insisting that he will sooner resign his role than sign on a law that would introduce abortion in Malta.

His statement was made during his inaugural speech at the Palace in Valletta when he laid out the principle of his presidency. “As a doctor, I will fight for the health of this country and the respect for life from start to finish of every individual.”

The recent appointment of Prof. Frank Bezzina, an academic who does not hail from the political class, as acting president, also raised speculation as to whether a ‘stand-in’ had been appointed should Vella object to give his assent to the bill.