Voters urged President to speak up on embryo freezing

Malta's President was moved to speak up on IVF reforms after concerns were raised by her former constituents

President Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca
President Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca

President Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca was approached by former constituents from her traditional seventh district stomping ground, urging her to voice her opinion on embryo freezing.

The Muscat administration this week faced an unprecedented call from the President of the Republic to allow more time for more views on a Bill that will regulate embryo freezing, outlawed in 2012 by the Nationalist government.

Sources close to the President told MaltaToday that Coleiro-Preca has had numerous exchanges with Archbishop Charles Scicluna on the matter.

READ MORE • President wades into IVF debate, calls for ‘longer period of reflection’

Coleiro Preca, a former social welfare minister under Muscat, is a silent critic of Muscat’s neoliberal policies and was an opponent to the introduction of divorce in 2011, having abstained on the vote in parliament. Coleiro-Preca has also privately expressed concern on the freezing of embryos.

Following her statement on Wednesday, in which she offered to mediate for a “longer period of reflection”, deputy prime minister and health minister Chris Fearne replied that the normal parliamentary course would take place, allowing the Opposition to present amendments at committee stage.

The presidential statement prompted a meeting between Fearne and Coleiro-Preca, and on Friday, Fearne told party delegates that the government would forge ahead with IVF reforms.

Coleiro-Preca was careful not to give her public views on the delicate subject but her call for a longer period of reflection picks up on the criticism by Opposition leader Adrian Delia that government has been intent on rushing through the reforms.

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