Updated with President's address.
President George Vella insisted on Sunday that he was representing the absolute majority of people in Malta when he spoke against the introduction of abortion.
“As a citizen I have no problem being at the forefront in defending the unborn child and opposing murder. Others are entitled to their opinion. My presence here is a statement in itself. No one needs to convince me about my position on this matter and this has nothing to do with religion. The position against murder was there well before Christ. I feel that I am representing the majority of people. Abortion is the murder of a baby in a woman’s womb,” he said.
Dr Vella, a doctor by profession, was speaking at a manifestation against abortion held in the Oratory of the St John's Co-Cathedral following a Mass to mark the Day of Life. The events were organised by the Malta Unborn Child Platform (MUCP), which forms part of the Cana Movement.
Dr Vella participated in the event despite objections last week by the Voice for Choice coalition.
He said he could never forget listening to those small beating hearts at eight or nine weeks and then following them until birth.
“I cannot imagine how we can terminate this life at any stage in its development,” he said.
As a politician, he said he could not understand how pro-abortion stands were taken when there were various declarations, including those about the rights of the child, that spoke about the duty to protect life before and after birth. He also could not understand how countries were still condemning capital punishment but then condoning capital punishment on the unborn.
I cannot understand how, on a European level they take you to the European Court of Justice over the killing of turtle doves but then you’re frowned upon if you do not accept abortion.- President
“Similarly, I cannot understand how, on a European level they take you to the European Court of Justice over the killing of turtle doves but then you’re frowned upon if you do not accept abortion. These are anomalies I do not understand,” he said.
Dr Vella questioned those who argued that abortion was a right, and asked who gave anyone the right to kill an unborn child. Was there anyone sticking up for the child’s rights?
“I also think that abortion is in breach of equality because some are born while others are killed,” he added.
Referring to a survey published by newspaper Illum, which said that 85 per cent of Maltese are against abortion, Dr Vella urged those resisting its introduction to continue doing so because these are on the right side of history.
He said “I do not think there is a political party that will propose something that they know the majority of people are against. Those who are taking in favour of life are in the right. We need to educate and we must also help and show compassion with those who find themselves in difficult situations,” he said as he noted that there was no political mandate to introduce abortion in Malta and that political leaders were against its introduction.
'One cannot separate civil liberties from the right to life' Bishop insists
Earlier, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea Curmi told the congregation during Mass that the strength of any society was measured by the progress of its weakest.
"The more we embrace a consistent ethic in favour of life, the more we are able to build a society that respects the human person, whoever he or she may be," Mgr Galea-Curmi said.
"We are for life and because we stand for life we believe that we must protect and cherish life from the very beginning of conception until its natural end. When human life already exists, there must never be a moment when we decide who lives or dies.
"One cannot separate civil liberties from the right to life, from a person’s right to be born and eventually make his or her own decisions. The more we embrace a consistent ethic in favour of life, the more we are able to build a society that respects the human person, whoever he or she may be.
"We are all for those who are weak and vulnerable, and we believe that the protection of the life of those who are vulnerable is the measure by which society can be considered to be humane."
The bishop urged those present to actively work for the protection of creation and to protect the weak and vulnerable, including migrants at sea.
The protection of life should never depend on popular consent or on current trends
"We must work concretely for the protection of life of these people, to ensure that they will not become victims of indifference and of a throwaway culture," he said.
"The protection of life should never depend on popular consent or on current trends.
"If our work in favour of life at all stages underlines our identity as Maltese, then we would find no difficulty to continue treasuring this principle even when other countries believe otherwise. Cherishing life is never a cause of embarrassment," he insisted.
Mgr Galea Curmi praised the Life Network Foundation which recently opened ‘Dar Tgħanniqa ta’ Omm’ that provides shelter to mothers who need help during pregnancy.