Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech urged people on Sunday to break their silence and speak up in favour of life and against abortion.

He was addressing a crowd during a party event themed ‘Iva, Favur il-Ħajja’ (Yes, I am in favour of life), which saw a number of speakers from different professions insist that abortion is not acceptable and should not be introduced in Malta. 

The activity was held as parliament debates a bill which will allow medical procedures that could terminate pregnancies when a mother's life or health are in serious danger. 

“The fight in favour of life is not a fight just by the Nationalist Party or the Church, but is a fight that the Maltese and Gozitan population is waging,” Grech said. 

Among those who attended the seated event at the Grand Hotel Excelsior were former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi and the chairperson of Life Network Foundation Miriam Sciberras.

Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi attended the PN's Pro-life event on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan BorgFormer Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi attended the PN's Pro-life event on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Too scared to defend life, what will you defend?

Speaking during the event, Grech insisted that people need to speak up.

“It is a big mistake to stay silent because of being scared,” he said.

“If you are scared to defend life, what are you ready to defend?”

During the March 2022 elections, he said, the Labour Party said it was in favour of life, but now it was clear that the Nationalist Party was the only political force that was fighting in favour of life. 

“There are many others who have no party, and Labourites who are in favour of life. It is very clear that through this amendment, the Labour Party is introducing abortion, the killing of the innocent in the womb.”

Grech’s tribute to his late mother

At one time during his speech, Grech spoke about his recently deceased mother Frida, the person, he said, who had taught him the importance of loving a woman.

Grech’s mother died on Monday, four months after her husband, John. 

“She taught me the importance to love and respect everyone, and she used to tell us to take care of women, not just through words but actions," he said.

Now, he said, was the time to be respectful and supportive of women, especially women who were going through a difficult time and were considering aborting their pregnancy. 

"We need to be there for that mother during this difficult moment.”

Peppi Azzopardi addressing the crowd on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan BorgPeppi Azzopardi addressing the crowd on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan Borg

‘What about the health of mothers out in Maltese waters?’

Speaking during the conference, broadcaster Peppi Azzopardi reflected on how the amendment is said to safeguard the health and lives of women in danger, yet he said, no such care was being afforded to migrant mothers out at sea. 

“What about the migrant mothers on boats who are left out in Maltese search and rescue waters?,” he asked. 

“What about their lives? Do we not care about the health of those women? And what about the health and life of the young four-year-old who died of thirst in a migrant boat?”

Azzopardi was referring to Lojin Ahmed Nasif, who allegedly died of thirst after the delayed rescue of a migrant boat.

He also called out the government's concern about sending women to prison for undergoing an abortion, and how it was not concerned when a woman died at prison two years ago. 

He was referring to Kim Borg Nicolas Virtu, who died of suicide in 2021 in prison. 

He said at the time the government did not bat an eyelid when the prison was being led by a "dictator", Alex Dalli, who he said, did not allow the woman to attend a drug rehabilitation programme. 

Dalli stepped down as prisons director following a series of suicides at the prison.   

Azzopardi spoke about a couple named Chris and Steve, who adopted a child with Down Syndrome, called Ben. 

He recalled how he recently had a conversation with Chris, who was concerned about the recent amendment. 

"He told me that the first children to be killed will be children like Ben, with Downs' Syndrome," he said. 

Professor George Buttigieg on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan BorgProfessor George Buttigieg on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Abortion isn't healthcare, it's convenience care' 

Another speaker during Sunday's event was gynaecology professor George Buttigieg. 

He insisted that abortion should not be legalised in Malta and that the country should continue to defend the rights of the vulnerable, including babies in the womb. 

"Abortion isn't healthcare, it's convenience care," he said.

Another speaker, social worker Daniella Zerafa, spoke about how the amendment impacted her, both professionally and personally. 

A foster parent, Zerafa currently fosters three children. She spoke about how she knows of many families who are not stable enough to care for their children. 

"Yet, I always tell the children I work with that if their mother did not give birth to them, they would not be here speaking to me and I would not be able to fight for their rights," she said. 

She said more must be done for families in poverty or suffering from drug dependency and housing issues. 

Thantologist Mirian Sapiano on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan BorgThantologist Mirian Sapiano on Sunday. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Another speaker, Miran Sapiano, a funeral director and thanatologist recalled one particular client. 

"I asked about his relationship with the deceased, and he told me it was 'the person who gave me life'", she said, explaining that her client was adopted.

"While he had no emotional connection to his biological mother, she was still the reason why he was alive and that he was the parent of two children. He still felt the need to celebrate her life."

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