It is widely, although falsely, assumed that there is only one possible true moral belief system and that, therefore, those who do not espouse those views must be acting immorally.
If this were the case, any form of moral argument would be superfluous.
The other false assumption is that moral beliefs are entirely subjective and, therefore, any further discussion is futile. I do not believe that morality is a set of rules imposed by God; I think more in terms of principles about how we ought to live.
Unfortunately, Malta’s political and legislative systems impose a particular moral belief on those who at some point may need to access abortions for different reasons.
Pro-choice doctors such as myself will never impose our personal views on others. On the contrary, we fully respect the decisions of those who may need to access abortions as well as those in the anti-choice movement whose moral stance opposes abortion.
More about our mission and aims can be read on our website, www.doctorsforchoice.mt.
As opposed to many in the anti-choice movement, we allow everyone to have their own position on abortion. We are happy 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.
Name-calling and defamatory accusations do not help us to have a constructive and critical debate on this issue. We do not believe that our moral beliefs are superior to those of others and we would very much appreciate reciprocity.
Unlike what some of our anti-choice medical colleagues do, we follow the recommendations of the World Health Organisation in promoting sex education, contraception as well as access to abortion, in order to promote health and social well-being.
We do not believe that our moral beliefs are superior to those of others and we would very much appreciate reciprocity
The United Nations regards the prohibition and criminalisation of abortion as a human rights violation, which is why we also strongly believe that abortion should be regulated by health policy and not by criminal law and that women who have had abortions should never be criminalised.
The central question should not be about whether abortion is morally right or wrong, as this will always remain a very personal matter, but should instead focus on whether the current law with respect to abortion is fit for purpose.
By extensively quoting Levantino in asserting that abortion is never a viable treatment option, Tony Mifsud, in his article ‘How to save the mother’s life’ (July 11), is promoting a potentially dangerous clinical situation.
May I remind readers that Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland because, among other things, her doctors waited for the foetus to die before trying to save her life.
It is unfortunate that some local medical doctors support LifeNetwork, even though it opposes the use of contraception and recommends an unproven and potentially dangerous method such as “reversal of medical abortion”.
It is also deeply concerning that our government is funding such an organisation.
People who are in difficult social circumstances but wish to carry on with their pregnancy should certainly find a safe place to reflect and receive support, such as from the St Jeanne Antide Foundation, but we feel that it is unacceptable that our taxes should fund an organisation that harbours far-right extremist views.
Mifsud states in his article that abortion is the “deliberate death of an infant so small, voiceless and helpless in his mother’s womb”.
I hope he will not be too upset if I gently correct this statement. According to the OED, an infant is a “very young child” and a child is a “young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority”. So the term “unborn infant” is an oxymoron.
Mifsud further refers specifically to Maltese citizens. Allow me to remind readers that Malta is home to just under 99,000 tax-paying non-Maltese residents (that is, approximately 21 per cent of the population in 2019), all of whom are obliged to abide by our draconian anti-abortion law.
Some of them can afford to travel but those who cannot, the “voiceless and helpless”, such as migrants and others who live among us, do not have the choice that I was able to make of whether and when to have children.
This is a disgrace.
Isabel Stabile, Gynaecologist and founding member of Doctors for Choice
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