Grech on abortion amendment: Government ready to sacrifice the baby for the mother

Opposition leader Bernard Grech insists a balance is needed between the health of the mother and the life of the foetus in amendment to abortion law

Opposition leader Bernard Grech said the government is failing to strike a balance between the health of the mother and the life of the foetus in an amendment to the Criminal Code that will allow for abortions when the mother’s health is in grave danger.

Grech was fielding questions from Nationalist Party youth activists on Thursday when Luke Vella, a Birkirkara local councillor, asked him why the party came out so strongly against the new amendment.

“I have no doubt that everyone, even those in favour of abortion, would want there to be an effort to save the baby’s life,” Grech said. “But government is saying that it’s willing to sacrifice the life of the baby when it can save the life of the baby and the mother.”

The Labour government proposed an amendment to the Criminal Code last October that would indemnify mothers and doctors who terminate a pregnancy because of a medical intervention to save the life of the mother or protect her health from grave danger.

But the amendment has caused uproar among pro-life activists, with the Church and the PN coming out strongly against the legislation.

“Doctors have always done interventions to save the mother’s life. Whenever this was done, the choice was saving the life of the mother and, consequentially, losing the baby,” Grech said.

“It would be no one’s wish to do this, but you can’t play with a mother’s life. We insist on this principle and maintain that we must make it clear at law.”

However, Grech said that the government is overstepping by allowing abortion when the mother’s health is in grave danger. The position of the PN and other pro-life activists is that a termination should only take place when the mother is at risk of dying.

Grech added that the PN has opposed the amendment as a united voice. He pointed out that activists, doctors, and academics have also argued that the Bill would effectively introduce abortion in Malta.

He added that Abela was open to tweaking the amendment, claiming that there are people in the Labour Party’s parliamentary group who are not happy with the amendment as proposed.

“I’m proud of the huge contribution that all PN MPs gave in parliament. I’m proud we took a clear position, and I’m proud that we’ll continue being this voice, even if others don’t want us to be this voice.”

Grech answered other questions put to him by TeamStart and MZPN activists Nina Briffa, Freddie Gerada and Miriana Testaferrata de Noto.

His message to them was to help tackle the “hopelessness” youths feel about Malta, and the lack of trust they hold in local politics and politicians.

“Labour has managed to convey the message that they themselves have corrupt politicians, but that everyone else is the same as them. This isn’t fair.”

Grech invited young people listening to the interview to join the Nationalist Party, and encouraged viewers to donate to the party’s fundraising marathon.

He added that the government is not doing enough to help alleviate the cost of living in Malta. “There are a lot of people who are struggling to live a normal life,” he said.

Grech criticised the Labour Party’s pledges towards first-time buyers, remarking that the measures have only served to increase the price of property over time.