PN MP questions Muscat's hesitancy over possible introduction of abortion

PN MP Claudette Buttigieg claimed the Prime Minister is not clarifying his position on abortion in order to deviate attention from more pertinent issues • Alternatives for Maltese women seeking abortions should be provided, she said

The government is playing an ‘ugly game’ by not clarifying its position on abortion, Deputy Speaker and PN MP Claudette Buttigieg said in parliament today.

Buttigieg said that she is disappointed that the country seems to be afraid of speaking about ‘uncomfortable’ subjects, as she shared her suspicions that the prime minister made prior promises to some people about abortion, and is therefore hesitant to make an official statement about it.

“If there is no intention of introducing abortion, be honest and tell people,” she said. “I know where this game is leading,” she said, adding that the government is purposely attempting to deviate from issues which it should be discussing instead.

On the issue of abortion, she said, there are a lot of questions to ask. But her question for the prime minister is to explain exactly why he is not being clear on his position on abortion.

At this point, commotion ensued as Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield demanded a point of order, which was refused, to say that the prime minister always spoke against abortion. He went on to accuse Buttigieg of misleading the public.

Reading excerpts from an article written by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on 10 January 2017, Buttigieg said that the article read as if it could have been written today, repeating the sentiment that the prime minister should clarify his standpoint on abortion.

“If the prime minister is truly against abortion, I cannot understand why crisis ensues when we make simple requests,” she said, referring to the Opposition’s request to give more protection to pregnant women under the domestic violence bill.

Buttigieg said that although it appears that the majority in the country is against abortion, Maltese women who do seek abortions abroad should not be ignored. “We need to help these women, and provide them with alternatives,” she said. “We cannot demonise those who we don’t agree with.”

Clarifying that she is not in favour of abortion, Buttigieg went on to say that she is prepared to speak to those she disagrees with in order to “understand where the mentality is coming from.”

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