It is not my intention to spark off a discussion on morality, with all the philosophical views that will undoubtedly flow from it. However, I do feel the need to point out to Isabel Stabile (‘Abortion laws fit for purpose?’, July 20) that, while she claims to espouse a fluid view of the nature of morality, she does not shy from simultaneously imposing upon it hard rules of her own making.

Thus, she attributes the status of fact to something that is nothing more than her personal view that the belief in the existence of only one moral system is a false belief.

Stabile then goes on to imply that a morality system is not entirely subjective but, in the same breath, claims that it is not God-imposed either. She stops short of developing this curious line of thought to its natural conclusion, which is that if it is not imposed by God, then it must be made up by man – in which case, man’s views on any subject being notoriously changeable, it cannot be anything other than subjective.

Further points are subsequently raised that merit a little more attention at the very least. I agree that it is good “to engage in this discussion with anyone who is willing to listen, reflect and form their own opinion, without criticising, belittling or denigrating their views”. However, I would point out that this cuts both ways, and that references to “far-right extremist views” and similarly unbecoming epithets do not sit well with honeyed exhortations to respectful debate.

Life Network Malta still adheres to the quaint viewpoint that the taking of human life is wrong

I would additionally suggest that attributing unfounded claims to opponents of one’s view is equally non-conducive to a useful exchange of views.

The claim that “the United Nations regards the prohibition and criminalisation of abortion as a violation of human rights” cannot go unremarked. There exist innumerable sub-committees and sub-groupings that work under the umbrella of the UN and, of these, many push their own abortion agendas for multifarious reasons; few, if any, have much to do with women’s health.

Nonetheless, it is disingenuous to give the impression that the institution of the United Nations has declared the prohibition of abortion a violation of human rights when there actually exists no such thing as a right to abortion within either the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the European Convention on Human Rights.

Similarly, the tragic case of Savita Halapanavaar, pounced upon with sensational acclaim by proponents of abortion the world over, was not so much a case of a human life that could have been saved by abortion as it was of one that could have been saved by a more timely diagnosis of life-threatening septicaemia.

Stabile would have it that the law should not enter into the subject of whether abortion is morally right or wrong. But the fact of the matter is that law is (or, at the very least, should be) subject to morality, and not the other way round. Morality lies at the core of our understanding of right and wrong, and the law exists to curb and redress wrongdoing.

If the notion of right and wrong is to be completely dissociated from the process of lawmaking, one is moved to question the very purpose of the law to begin with.

Life Network Malta, referred to by Stabile, still adheres to the quaint viewpoint that the taking of human life is wrong. Today, consequent to this position and to Life Network’s efforts in this direction, there exists an ever-increasing number of mother-and-baby couples, both of whom are thriving and being looked after with every available means of support. This is, arguably, a better result than a string of regret-driven mothers and dead babies.

Furthermore, Life Network has, in its care, an equally substantial number of women who have gone down the abortion pathway and have bitterly regretted their decision, and have, by careful intervention, been guided away from even more potentially-disastrous consequences to themselves.

It is this work that attracted the government’s attention and that, following careful scrutiny, the government decided to support further. A very great many would not consider this a disgraceful outcome.

Ivan Padovani, member, Life Network Malta

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