Pro-life lobby toasts year of success with Valletta march

Valletta march for life addressed by Catholic media celebrity and chastity speaker Patrizia Sandoval

Hundreds gathered in Valletta for Malta’s pro-life annual march, which was addressed by Catholic media celebrity and chastity speaker Patrizia Sandoval.

Life Network Malta said a wide-ranging group of all ages gathered at Castille on Sunday, where they marched around the city and then into the Jean de Valette Square to hear public addresses.

Sandoval, an EWTN host, gave a testimony of her journey as a pro-choice supporter who has herself had three abortions and assisted a Planned Parenthood clinic in the United States She said it was this experience that “made it clear to me that unborn babies are human beings, and not simply ‘a choice’.”

Why the new version of Bill 28 still leaves Maltese women knocking on the doors of death

She praised Malta’s pro-life stance, encouraging demonstrators to “stand proud the face of attempts by the abortion industry to get the law changed in Malta.”

Life Network president Dr Miriam Sciberras thanked all MPs who had voted in favour of amendments to Malta’s Criminal Code, which kept terminations illegal despite a first attempt by the Abela administration to advance a law to allow abortions where the mother’s life is in danger.

The original Bill 28 was meant to introduce two very limited exceptions to the Criminal Code by which doctors would be allowed to terminate a pregnancy if a woman’s life or health are in danger. Pro-choice activists called this the bare minimum in an otherwise restrictive legal framework.

The development was prompted by a case that happened several months earlier when an American tourist – Andrea Prudente – was denied an abortion while holidaying in Malta. Prudente who was 16 weeks pregnant suffered a ruptured membrane and doctors even told her the pregnancy was no longer viable.

However, because the law criminalising abortion makes no exceptions, doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy. Prudente eventually was flown to Spain where she had an abortion, eliminating altogether the risk of her developing sepsis, a life-threatening infection of the blood.

Back in November when the Second Reading stage of Bill 28 started in parliament, Prime Minister Robert Abela and several other Labour MPs made a whole-hearted defence of the proposed amendment, especially the aspect that spoke of protecting women’s health.

The underpinning argument was that Andrea Prudente and women in her predicament should never be allowed to reach a stage where their life is put at risk before doctors could intervene.

But seven months down the line government backtracked on its core principle to protect women’s health, despite the rhetoric saying otherwise. The new wording of Bill 28 will not solve the dilemma created in the Prudente case – consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Mark Sant has said as much. However, Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg brushed off these concerns, insisting the changes are a game-changer and will prevent a repeat of the Prudente case.