Updated 7.30pm with Malta Women Lobby reaction
The Life Network Foundation has come out against the Nationalist Party’s promise of free contraception and morning-after pill and accused the party of contradicting itself.
The PN on Thursday said a Nationalist government would provide free contraception and morning-after pills as part of a sexual health strategy it would deliver within six months of being elected.
But the proposal has drawn criticism from the Life Network Foundation, which said that the plan would not solve sexual health issues.
The pro-life and Catholic focused NGO, which primarily campaigns on anti-abortion issues, describes its mission as to "address all life, marriage, and family issues founded on Catholic principles and ethic of life."
In a statement on Friday, it said that giving out free contraceptives "as if they are some sort of sweets" would not decrease sexually transmitted disease nor unplanned pregnancies.
The foundation argued that the focus should be on teaching young people about self-respect and the effect alcohol and drugs have on clarity of mind in their sexual encounters.
It also slammed the PN's morning-after pill proposal and argued that the pill is "not a contraceptive but classified as a contragestive because it can act after fertilisation has taken place".
Taken over the counter and at frequent intervals, these pills can also cause side effects, it noted.
The NGO also argued that the PN had made conflicting statements during its press conference on Thursday to announce the proposal.
While Stephen Spiteri stated that the PN stands for the protection of life from conception, Emma Portelli Bonnici spoke about free distribution of the morning-after pill.
This, the foundation said, was “a contradiction of terms”.
It asked which type of morning-after pill the party wanted to distribute, if this was PN policy or a candidates’ opinion and what the PL’s position on the issue was.
“The electorate deserves an answer. If the election is on the cards in the near future, the electorate also deserves to know what each candidate’s position is with regards to abortion,” the foundation said.
'Check your facts'
Reacting to the foundation's comments, Malta Women Lobby calls on the organisation to check its facts before issuing statements about the use of contraceptives and the morning after pill.
"Their claims are unscientific and harmful," the lobby said in a statement.
"These deliberately misleading claims are not helpful in any way and will simply contribute to Malta’s already high rate of teenage pregnancies and rising STDs.
"What the Life Network Foundation is propagating is disinformation."
The lobby urged news agencies to challenge such claims.
Access to free contraceptives and the morning-after pill is essential for women in a society that truly believes in equality between women and men, it said.
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