Updated 7.50pm with reaction by the Office of the President below -
The Voice for Choice coalition has expressed disappointment at President George Vella’s decision to address an anti-abortion manifestation in Valletta in February.
In a statement on Tuesday, the organisation said that, in doing so, the President would be sharing a podium with individuals and organisations who strongly opposed a whole plethora of “hard-earned” civil rights including the right to divorce, the right to reproductive assistance in the form of IVF, access to contraception, and LGBT rights including equal marriage and adoption rights.
“George Vella’s address at the ‘Manifestation in favour of Life’ is an astounding insult to all those who care about civil rights and equality in our country,” Voice for Choice said.
The President’s address at this event, it said, would give prominence and legitimacy to organisations associated with extreme right-wing ideologies that have been repeatedly soundly rejected by the Maltese electorate at the polls.
The other prominent world leader who recently attended such an anti-abortion event was American president Donald J. Trump, it noted.
Voice for Choice urged Dr Vella and his office to consider the sentiment of all Maltese citizens who cared about and benefited from civil rights and equality and distance themselves from these ideologies and organisations.
Office of the President replies
In a reply, the Office of the President said that the President was never part of any group that was against any civil rights, such as divorce and LGBTIQ.
Dr Vella was, however, always very clear about his views on the right to life.
“This position is well known and will not change,” it said.
However the Office said the President had not agreed to any public manifestation about the subject.
What had been agreed was that on Sunday, February 2 the President will attend Mass in favour of life, as previous presidents had done year after year. After the Mass the activity will continue in the oratory of St John’s Co-Cathedral.