Men are more likely than women to seek pleasure from sexuality and so women have traditionally been sexual gatekeepers for men.  In the past, the potential need to care for a dependent child had a tempering effect on women’s behaviour.

That any child, once conceived, should be treasured and nurtured for life was never in question. This delicate balance also served to select men who were motivated by love and would honour a lifetime commitment to marriage.

The first downward step was oral contraception. Those who opted to go on the pill were able to dramatically lower the ‘risk’ of having to nurture a child for life. Once the unpredictability of conception was removed, ‘gatekeeping’ was not so necessary.  Procreation was no longer inherent in sexual relations and women started to become more opportunistic in their sexual behaviour.

Children were now displaced from the centre of a woman’s ‘love-life’ as their birth could now be avoided.

The pill was not completely reliable however and those who did not take it regularly still ran the risk of pregnancy with sexual intercourse. The resourcefulness of the pharmaceutical industry then produced the morning-after pill (MAP) which has a 98 per cent ability to prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of intercourse.

Abortion has crept into many societies on the back of contraception and the MAP will surely accelerate its acceptance

The pill was deceptively marketed as ‘emergency contraception’ to try and obscure its abortive effects on any conception that had already occurred. It could equally have been called ‘emergency abortion’ however, as it is not difficult to see, that since most successful conceptions occur within the time period of action of the MAP, much of its effect has to be due to a loss of the fertilised ovum.

This is abortion. With the MAP, the woman’s defence against pregnancy is taken to a second level. In this ‘emergency’ use of the MAP the woman has to accept that abortion may occur. At least subconsciously, she assents to take a potentially lethal step against the life of a child. The MAP therefore further devalues the lives of children in a society that legalises the MAP, in an incremental downward step over the contraceptive pill.

The third and final step which is inevitable once the life of a child ismade disposable by allowing the MAPis abortion.

Abortion is extended to situations that do not fulfil the arbitrary designation of ‘emergency’. Once a society is sufficiently desensitised to the evil of killing the most vulnerable expression of its newest members, the door is open to abortion of confirmed pregnancies.

Abortion has crept into many societies on the back of contraception and the MAP will surely accelerate its acceptance. What was treasure will sadly end up as trash.

The Maltese have always treasured children. Children are a deep source of love in the community. Some groups are portraying the MAP as necessary to societal progress, for a woman to control her own body regardless of any potential life she is carrying.

Is it progress for a woman to be empowered to destroy what she should be nurturing with all her heart? The MAP is lethal for life at its most vulnerable and, if accepted, will deeply damage not only children, but women and the unique love the Maltese have for children.

Patrick Pullicino is a neurologist.

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