Almost seven years ago, in September 2009, the Times of Malta reported that Joseph Muscat, the current Prime Minister, said he disagreed with the morning-after pill even in cases of rape. He added that he could not accept any method, including the morning-after pill, that stopped life.

Such a stand did not seem to ruffle the feathers of the public, not even highly educated women, Alternattiva Demokratika, the Humanist Association or any of the feminists who so vociferously cry out for women’s rights. None made their voice heard.

Yet, today the climate has changed, although the facts have not. The morning-after pill is a contraceptive but, if fertilisation has occurred, it has an abortifacient effect. In a culture where abortion is accepted and legalised, such a reality does not bother the public conscience.

As Ivan Padovani put it so eloquently (July 3 “If you don’t have a problem with abortion as a form of birth control, then you won’t have a problem with the morning-after pill either.”

So far, Malta is different. It does not accept abortion. Should we be ashamed?

I can understand that some men are perfectly happy that women bear the responsibility of getting pregnant and are totally indifferent to whatever method they use. However, I am dismayed that so many women are willing to swallow hormonal drugs and implant devices in their wombs and even resort to abortion, all in the name of women’s so-called emancipation.

Some men are perfectly happy that women bear the responsibility of getting pregnant and are totally indifferent to whatever method they use

In an article of the Guardian (November 2014), Holly Grigg-Spall is decidedly against contraceptives. She writes: “When we take the pill our sex hormones are suppressed and replaced with synthetic versions, released in a steady stream. Gone are the fluctuations we experience monthly.

“This means every system related to our hormones is disrupted – our metabolic and endocrine systems and our immune system. This is what leads to the insidious, slow-build side-effects that women can experience. That’s the science behind the headlines.”

She adds: “A lack of feminism more widely might explain why research that connects the pill to increased risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer and pulmonary embolism leading to stroke or even death is more likely to get swept aside as anomalous or negligible.”

She concludes that women shouldn’t be expected, let alone encouraged, to sacrifice their health and well-being.

If anything, in the light of such facts, I would expect women to clamour for a male pill and place the onus of all the physiological and psychological disruption in the male camp. That would really be revolutionary and… equally stupid.

Even so, would women trust men who claim they are ‘on the pill’? The only pills men may be keen to take are those like Viagra that enhance their sexual potency.

Again, in 2009, Carl Djerassi, one of the key researchers who developed synthetic progesterone that led to the ‘pill’, outlined the “horror scenario” that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that, in most of Europe, there was now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction”.

The fall in the birth rate in his country, Austria, he said, was an “epidemic” far worse but given less attention than obesity.

Scientists also point out that many so-called contraceptives have an abortifacient effect by preventing implantation of the embryo. Spanish doctor José Maria Simon Castellvi refers to the “devastating ecological effects” of the tons of hormones discarded into the environment each year, adding that sufficient data exists to show that one of the causes of male infertility in the West is the environmental contamination caused by the products of the ‘pill’.

Finally, contraceptive methods violate at least five important rights: the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, the right to information (its dissemination occurs to the detriment of information about natural methods) and the right of equality between the sexes (responsibility for contraceptive use almost always falls to the woman).

If such facts are branded hysterical and if criticism of contra­ceptives and abortifacients are criticised as shameful, then so be it. I hope that people who think rationally will conclude otherwise.

Klaus Vella Bardon is deputy chairman of Life Network Malta.

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