Pro-life groups in urgent appeal to MPs on IVF law

Various pro-life groups and individuals have issued a letter to the government calling for a wider consultation with experts and interested individuals and not just members of parliaments 

Pro-life groups have asked the government to reconsider proposed IVF law consultation to include a wider discussion with experts.

In a letter to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Opposition leader Adrian Delia and Parliamentary Speaker, the pro-life groups, said that the consultation regarding the changes in the IVF laws was not the right path to pursue, as it would not include experts and interested groups in the discussion.

During last night’s parliamentary debate, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the government was willing to discuss changes to the proposed amendments to the 2012 IVF law when it comes to the clarification of the terminology used in the proposals, the right of a child born by anonymous gamete donation to know who his biological parents are, and making it clearer that surrogacy against payment will not be allowed. This would mean that all 67 MPs will be given the opportunity to contribute and voice their opinions.

A vote by division was also called by the Speaker for 23 May, after which the Bill will go to the committee stage, where Fearne emphasised the government was open to continuing the discussion and putting in place certain changes.

The letter, signed by Life Network Foundation, Gift of Life Foundation, the Cana Movement and many other organisations and experts, stated that the proposed consultation would be limited to members of parliament.

“This does not provide the necessary space for consultation, brushing off a genuine and honest discussion on the subject,” the letter read.

The pro-life groups claimed that experts on the subject must resort to giving information to MPs who in turn have to repeat the information in parliament whereas experts can expand in a more detailed and informed manner.

Last but not least, the pro-life groups expressed their concern with having to side with one side of the political spectrum or the other, which according to them will result in a loss of credibility in terms of partisan politics.  

The signatories have reiterated the President’s claim and have asked the House of Representatives to consider adopting a structure of discussion that would allow all stakeholders to actively participate in the discussion.   

The letter also stated that various entities such as the National Council of Women, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, Andrew Azzopardi, the Maltese Council of Psychology and the Association of Paediatricians also have a contribution to give in the discussion.