Muscat: IVF bill is about equality, not health

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the IVF bill is essentially about equality, not health or technical amendments

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the IVF bill is about equality, and that there were no objections to the procedure when it was initially discussed
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the IVF bill is about equality, and that there were no objections to the procedure when it was initially discussed

Equality is absolute and not relative, prime minister Joseph Muscat said, defending the IVF amendment which he said was fixing a law which was discriminatory.

Muscat went on to explain that there are no ‘ifs and buts’ when it comes to equality, and that it was not right to dictate that only married couples could make use of the treatment.

“If you want a family, we will help you, not stop you,” he said, explaining that everyone voted in favour of marriage equality, except for one person – Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo – who Muscat said he respected more than “the hypocrisy of those who disagree, but do not speak up.”

Muscat was speaking at a Labour Party event at the City Theatre in Valletta, and referring to the IVF bill announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne last week.

The bill amends the IVF law to provide access to IVF for same-sex couples and single persons.

Disagreement on this amendment, Muscat said, brings the argument back to equality. “Disagreement on this means that we voted in parliament for something we don’t really believe in. It’s no use asking for apologies,” Muscat said, referring to when the Opposition backtracked on its vote against adoption for same-sex couples.

Muscat recalled an instance in which a person who was previously against same-sex adoption had changed his mind after watching a program on Xarabank which showcased a gay couple who had adopted a disabled child. "Those men adopted a disabled child which other couples didn't want. If it weren't for the law which allowed them to do so, that disabled child probably wouldn't have parents and would remain an orphan."

The prime minister explained that what strengthens his conviction is the smile on the face of parents who managed to have a family as a result of these laws.

“We will be there to convince, discuss, learn, and showcase our experiences – giving a voice to those who don’t want to show their faces,” Muscat said, referring to persons who are unable to conceive naturally. “But we know they exist, and it’s our duty to speak on their behalf.”

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