In his usual dogmatic style, Martin Scicluna in his article of December 13, ‘Women’s Rights’, seeks to make a case for abortion in Malta by affirming that the country has a problem and because most countries in the world have abortion while we don’t.
He also dangerously asserts that abortion is a matter of a woman’s personal conscience. Is it? Unfortunately, these assertions require some detailed explanations, and therefore I will tackle the points raised.
Does Malta have a problem because we do not have abortion in our laws?
Scicluna claims that abortion is justified because he claims that “scores of women were going abroad every year to terminate their pregnancies”. I have not seen a statistic to prove this claim however he is comfortable to anchor his argument on mere hearsay.
I will not deny the fact that some Maltese women have made abortions. I am also aware that women that have gone through an abortion have done so with a lot of grief, pain and psychological turmoil, many suffering regret, guilt and more serious complications such as depression.
The inherent nature of a woman is to bear and give life and not to destroy it.
Scicluna in making his arguments shut out completely the fact that we are talking about the killing of innocent lives, of unborn children. This is indeed appalling.
It is an observable scientific fact that life begins in the womb. Our society has long upheld the value that human life is intrinsically precious, and not of lesser or greater value depending on the stage of development of the human being. When we talk of rights we also need to talk of obligations including the protection of the unborn children as those before us have protected us when we too were a foetus.
People who work with women contemplating abortion tell you how many times the mother does not even know what she would have to go through when making the decision, including the emotional and psychological trauma they will inevitably pass through, and the guilt and remorse that they subsequently will suffer.
What these vulnerable, many times very young mothers need is love, support and help to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. They need guidance on the positive options, on the State support if they opt to retain the child or if unable to do so themselves the option of fostering and adoption.
We need to convince these mothers (and immediate family) that there is no stigma in having a child outside of marriage, that they will be supported to allow the young women to continue pursuing her education and have a career.
Termination of the innocent child should never be an option let alone presented as a solution. If ultimately the mother does not want or is unable to take care of the child, then she should be encouraged to lovingly offer that child to a caring family that desire to have children of their own but cannot, through adoption.
The inherent nature of a woman is to bear and give life and not to destroy it
The real problem is when young girls are pushed into abortion by their own family who feel unprepared to carry the burden of an unplanned child. They opt for abortion because once born they feel unable to give away ‘their’ child to others and so find it easier to get rid (kill) a child they yet have not seen.
If truly we have so many women seeking abortion, then the government should embark in a massive outreach programme to encourage these women to seek support, including considering adoption.
How beautiful and human it would be if a couple earmarked to adopt the child, is allowed to accompany the mother, support her and give her the comfort that they will give the child the love she unfortunately is unable to give because of her circumstances.
This is a noble act of the mother and I am certain that the adoptive parents will bring up the child thankful that his/her natural mother still gave them life despite her difficulties.
How ironic, that in the same time that we have advocates urging us to destroy innocent babies, we have advocates who tell us that we need to unwind the Embryo Protection Act to introduce new concepts like sperm and egg donation, even surrogacy to ‘create’ babies for couples who are unable to have children. Is this at all logical and humane?
We kill the ‘natural’ unborn babies and create ‘artificial’ ones.
I understand that there are those who have huge commercial interests in having abortion clinics and IVF centres, but are these commercial interests supreme over the life of the unborn child to be aborted and the rights of the parentless children they seek to create?
Adoption should be the solution for unwanted pregnancies and childless couples and not abortion, sperm and egg donations and surrogacy.
Catching on are the catch phrases to justify abortion by the supposedly the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, who seems to forget the rights of the unborn.
Adoption and not abortion “gives women a healthy living, the right to bodily integrity, a women’s right to private life and to be free of ill-treatment” when the child is unwanted.
Abortion only causes pain, anxiety, trauma, guilt, regret and death.
The answer to an unwanted child is not abortion but adoption, life not death. Advocating abortion is putting a wedge between the mother and her own child within her womb, this is shameful and the problem. There is no shame or problem in Malta remaining a beacon for life and protecting the unborn.
Tonio Fenech is a former Nationalist Party minister.
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