President reaffirms call for dialogue on bioethical issues

President tells Life Network Foundation conference that dignity of human person must be prioritised

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has called on professionals, authorities and civil society activists to engage in a respectful dialogue on bioethical issues.

She was giving an opening speech at a conference organised by Life Network Foundation a day after she waded into a public debate on IVF, where she called for a longer period of reflection on the law being debated in the Maltese parliament.

MPs are debating the introduction of embryo freezing as a way of improving IVF treatment currently offered on the national health registry, after the practice was banned in 2012 by the Nationalist administration. The law only allows egg freezing in IVF treatment.

Coleiro Preca said that it was “essential to always promote, prioritise, and protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person” and called for a “mentality of support and solidarity” that c oudl shield society from the dangers of prejudice and exclusion.

“The intrinsic dignity of the human person does not depend on their gender, ethnicity, health, mental capacity, disability, or any other specific factor,” Coleiro Preca said.

“I augur that the nation will always be led by a rights-based approach, which affirms and safeguards the dignity and respect of all the diverse people who call the Maltese Islands their home.”

The Malta Infertility Network yesterday said that it was supporting the changes to IVF proposed by the government, which are being opposed by the Nationalist Party as well as Catholic and pro-life organisations, and various medical professionals.

“We see that a lot has been said that hurts childless couples who face the medical condition of infertility. We appeal for caution in all that is said, especially for families whose children were conceived through IVF and embryo freezing or gamete donation,” spokesperson Diane Calleja Gilson said.

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