President George Vella has reaffirmed his stance in strong opposition to abortion, repeating that he would rather resign than sign a bill concerning abortion. 

“I will never sign a bill that involves the authorisation of murder,” Vella said in comments to Net News on Monday, stating that his position on the matter has always been clear. 

“I cannot stop the executive from deciding, that is up to Parliament.  But I do have the liberty, if I don’t agree with a bill, to resign and go home, I have no problem doing this.” 

Vella, who is a doctor by profession, has frequently spoken out against abortion and spoke at an anti-abortion rally last year, prompting criticism from the pro-choice Voice for Choice coalition. 

Asked whether there were any exceptions where one might consider abortion permissible, Vella said there were no half measures to murder. 

“You have either killed or not killed, there can be no half death. I’m very clear, there are no ifs and buts.” 

Coleiro Preca: women should not be made criminals

On Monday President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca told The Malta Independent that she did not believe in abortion, but that women who choose to terminate a pregnancy should be offered assistance and not met with condemnation. 

“I have always been very clear that l am against abortion, even when l was President Of Malta l stated my beliefs, and my stand on the issue has not changed,” she said.

“Throughout the years, my political life and most of my work have always revolved around children and their rights. l therefore believe that I cannot fight for the rights of children unless I also fight for their right to be born.”

“Nonetheless, I believe that women who, for some reason or another, go through an abortion should not be criminalised, but instead should receive the necessary psycho-social and emotional support, whereas the person or persons who administer the abortion procedure should face consequences and be punished according to the law,” she said.

Last week independent MP Marlene Farrugia presented a bill to parliament calling for the decriminalisation of abortion, a move lauded by pro-choice activists and condemned by pro-life organisations. 

Opposition leader Bernard Grech has said the Nationalist Party can never back the decriminalisation of abortion, while the Labour Party has also come out in opposition to the bill, saying that it was open to discussing the issue but that Farrugia’s bill ‘choked’ the debate.

ADPD have backed the bill and called for the legalisation of abortion in select and exceptional circumstances.

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