by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2006
Valleta, Malta (LifeNews.com) — The pro-life group in the European island nation of Malta wants to strengthen the nation’s pro-life laws on abortion. Malta is one of the few European nations to make abortion illegal and the pro-life group wants to enshrine the law in the nation’s constitution and make it more difficult to overturn it.
Gift of Life has launched an online petition calling for the right to life starting at conception to become a part of the constitution.
The proposal would also make it so the parliament in the largely Catholic nation would need a two-thirds votes, instead of a majority, to overturn the country’s pro-life laws and legalize abortions.
The group plans on presenting the signatures it gathers when the parliament returns from its summer break.
According to the group, residents of Malta can sign the petition, but so can anyone who holds a Maltese identification card or passport.
"Following the public consultation by the Government in 2005 on how to best protect Malta against abortion, a year later, the unborn child in Malta is still not adequately protected from the possibility of abortion being introduced in the future. We are lobbying to give the unborn child the right to life through our Constitution," the organization says.
"There are some who are working so that Malta will have abortion introduced. In a recent visit by a foreign abortionist brought over by these individuals, free abortions were offered to Maltese women," the group added.
That refers to an effort by Spanish abortion practitioner Josep Carbonell who has been advertising abortions at his Valencia, Spain abortion facility. Carbonell has said he wants to do abortions at no cost since women living on the island nation can’t get abortions there.
The government of Malta has told pro-life advocates that it can’t stop the ads even though abortion is prohibited.
Government officials say they have no grounds on which to stop the advertisements, since the abortions are not done in Malta.
“As long as what he’s promoting is happening abroad, there is nothing legally that can be done about it,” a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg said yesterday, according to Malta Today. “It is morally reprehensible, but nobody can stop him from advertising services he’s offering in other countries.”
Malta has come under pressure from the United Nations to reverse its pro-life laws.
In December 2004, the nation’s Catholic bishops condemned a United Nation’s campaign pushing the pro-life country to overturn its pro-life laws.
Maltese bishops criticized a document released by a UN committee urging the nation to consider allowing abortions in cases of rape or incest or supposedly to protect the health of the mother.
In a statement, the bishops called the recommendation "objectionable" and "unacceptable" and urged Malta residents to continue protecting the right to life of unborn children from conception.
"Abortion is and remains the murder of innocent persons, whatever the reason behind it," the bishops said, according to a report by Malta news agency di-ve. "Abortion is fully contrary to the law of God. It is a grave affront to God, who has absolute authority over human life."
The United Nations Human Rights Committee placed Malta and other pro-life nations on a "hit list" of countries that would be subjected to intense lobbying to alter their abortion statutes. Ironically, Malta has a representative on this UN committee.
Archbishop of Malta Joseph Mercieca, Bishop of Gozo Nicholas J. Cauchi, and Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Annetto Depasquale signed the statement.
Related web sites:
Gift of Life petition – https://www.lifemalta.org/pet01.html