With Ireland having passed its law allowing abortion, without gestational age limits, in cases where a woman threatens suicide, the tiny island nation of Malta has become the European Union’s last man standing against abortion.
Malta’s MEPs were among a small bloc at the EU who worked against the recent failed proposal by socialists and abortion activists that would have forced member states to consider direct abortion a “right”. But a December 12th op-ed in the Times of Malta warned that the Estrela Report is not going to be the last attempt to impose the rest of Europe’s abortion regime on their country.
“The daily sifting through pro-life articles makes me feel uneasy at the status quo of the pro-life work being done in Malta. Are we doing enough by way of educating our society as regards building a culture of life? Are we getting prepared for the next onslaught by some EU body on Malta,” Miriam Sciberras asked.
She pointed out that countries are enacting laws “to justify the most heinous crimes” in the name of “choice, freedom, homophobia and compassion,” with the “real meaning of the words” being “twisted to mean exactly the opposite of what it should mean.”
“Times are upon us when we should be prepared and vigilant,” she said.
The razor-thin vote on the Estrela Report, that would also have imposed explicit “sex education” on four year-old children, was 334 in favour, 327 against and 35 abstentions. The rejected report recommended that “as a human rights and public health concern, high-quality abortion services should be made legal, safe, and accessible to all within the public health systems of member states, including to non-resident women, who often seek these services in other countries because of restrictive abortion laws in their country of origin.”
Maltese MEPs instead supported an alternate resolution stating that “the formulation and implementation of policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights and on sex education in schools is a competence of the member states.”
While Malta, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, is signatory to one of the UN’s key abortion-promoting agreements, the country has stood up to the international abortion lobby from the start. When becoming signatories of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Malta included formally defined “reservations” as a condition of ratification, saying that it does not consider itself bound by one particular paragraph insofar as it “may be interpreted as imposing an obligation on Malta to legalize abortion.”
Most of the EU’s 28 member states allow abortion “on request” and most have the gestational age limit set at 12 weeks. Exceptions are Ireland, that now allows abortion in some circumstances with no gestational time limits, and the UK that has its limit set at 24 weeks for children with no diagnosis of disability, one of the highest in the EU. In the UK eugenic abortion, for those children suspected of a disability, is allowed without restriction up to full gestation.
Sciberras pointed out that in Ireland a Catholic hospital is already being forced by the government to participate in abortion, despite the EU’s own rights agreements protect religious conscience rights.
“Our government and legislators should be alerted to this test case,” she wrote, calling it a “blatant example of what happens when the ‘liberals’ impose their stance on all and do not allow anyone to disagree in principle, ethos or religious conscience.”
She warned also that the “liberal wing in Malta’s political parties also seems to be gaining the upper hand”.
“Maltese politicians and Church leaders should be fully aware of what this really means before it is too late for Malta. Liberal laws are not really liberal when those who disagree are threatened or coerced into complying.
“Woe to us, should European law fail to protect religious conscience for whatever concocted reasons.”