Malta Bishops Strongly Support Motion Against Abortion at Council of Europe

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Malta Bishops Strongly Support Motion Against Abortion at Council of Europe Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 15
, 2008

Strasbourg, France ( — The Catholic bishops of Malta released a joint statement on Tuesday saying they strongly oppose a report at the Council of Europe calling on nations to legalize abortion. They urge Maltese representatives to the council to oppose the report to reduce the pressure on Malta to allow abortions.

The bishops join elected officials in Ireland who have spoken out against the report because they don’t want the island nation to be pressured to legalize abortion either.

Mgr Paul Cremona and Mgr Mario Grech released the statement together, according to a Malta Star report.

“Abortion is not a choice but murder; abortion is not a right but a negation of the right to life; abortion is not beneficial, neither for society nor for the mother herself," they said.

The urge members of the Council of Europe “to be objective in what they propose for the consideration of the members; present fact as facts, comments as comments and what is debatable as debatable.”

The Malta Star also wrote its own editorial on the situation urging defeat of the pro-abortion report.

"The situation in Malta is different to that in the rest of the member states of the CoE. There is complete political consensus and in the country against introducing abortion in any way, shape or form," it said.

"We feel it is our duty to appeal to those moving this motion not to insist on imposing their values on Malta," the editors added.

Members of both sides of the Malta House have said they would speak out in opposition to the resolution.

The Council of Europe report targets Ireland, Andorra, Malta, and Poland and wants abortion promoted more fully in other nations that have already legalized it.

The Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe published the report last month.

The report calls on all 47 member countries to guarantee ‘‘women’s effective exercise of their right to abortion and to lift restrictions which hinder access to safe abortion."

While pro-life advocates want to defeat the report, Ireland MEP Kathy Sinnott says the silver lining, should they lose the adoption vote, is that the Council of Europe doesn’t have the same legal weight as the European Union.

‘‘The Council of Europe is not the EU and its resolutions do not have the force of law in Ireland that EU law does," she said.

Still, Sinnott said the report should be defeated because it adds to the pressure the nations feel from the rest of the Europe to allow abortions.

"Nonetheless, it is recognized as a moral authority in Europe and its deliberations can be used to pressure us in areas where we have taken an independent path," Sinnott said. ‘‘If this resolution passes, it will be more pressure on Ireland to change its abortion laws.”