PN MP Edwin Vassallo votes against gender-based and domestic violence bill

Vassallo maintains bill should specifically condemn any form of abortion, be it consensual or not

PN MP Edwin Vassallo has voted against the bill on gender-based and domestic violence, in its second reading
PN MP Edwin Vassallo has voted against the bill on gender-based and domestic violence, in its second reading

Nationalist Party MP Edwin Vassallo has opposed the bill against gender-based and domestic violence, on the second reading of the bill, maintaining he had Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia's approval to do so.

The bill went through, with only Vassallo declaring he had voted against it, and will now go to the committee stage. He had earlier today said in parliament that he would not be voting for the bill.

Moreover, he said that, in the name of the Nationalist Party, he was asking the government to amend the bill to say that it condemned every form of abortion, be it with or without the consent of the mother.

Vassallo’s arguments have to be placed within the context of the Istanbul Convention on combatting violence against women and domestic violence, the provisions of which will be directly implemented through the bill currently being discussed in parliament.

Article 39 of the Istanbul Convention prohibits forced abortion, that is, any abortion undertaken without the woman’s consent.

Vassallo argued that if the government did not amend this part of the Convention when implementing it through the bill, and specify that it was against any form of abortion, then it would be opening a window to abortion in Malta.

In reaction to this, equality minister Helena Dalli said she regretted that unfortunately parliament was divided on the bill which sought to protect victims of gender-based and domestic violence.

“It was my intention that we all leave parliament unified behind this bill against domestic violence, but as we have heard, this won’t happen,” Dalli said.

Vassallo interjected, saying he wanted to make it clear that he was against all types of violence, and him voting against the law had no bearing on his complete condemnation of violence.

Rejecting Vassallo’s argument, Dalli said that the proposed bill had nothing to do with abortion, adding that she was now used to Vassallo voting against bills she put forward.