Malta President George Vella said this week that he would resign rather than sign a bill to legalize the killing of unborn babies in his country.
The Malta Independent asked Vella about his stance on abortion after independent MP Marlene Farrugioa introduced a bill Wednesday in parliament to legalize abortions.
Malta is one of the few countries in Europe that still protects unborn babies’ right to life, and Vella, a medical doctor by profession, wants to keep it that way.
In 2019 when he was elected president, Vella said he would “never sign” a law to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions, according to the report.
“If such a law is passed through Parliament after a debate and a vote and I was asked to sign it, I will have a strong moral objection and my only option would be to pack my things and leave. This is another issue I discussed before accepting my nomination: I will never sign such a law, I will not have it on my conscience,” he said at the time.
This week, Vella confirmed to the Independent that his “position remains unchanged.”
Here’s more from the report:
It is unlikely that the Bill will reach this stage, anyway, given that both main political parties, the PL and the PN, have said they are against abortion and that they do not have a mandate to introduce it. In reality, it is likely that the Bill will not get past committee stage, although it could possibly trigger a national debate. …
Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said the PN believes in the concept of life since the moment of conception. The Nationalist Party, he said, can never back any law to decriminalise abortion.
On Thursday, Catholic Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta urged parliament to reject abortion. He said society cannot advance women’s rights at the cost of their own children’s lives, stating, “So wouldn’t society be regressing when it then allowed the killing of babies?”
Malta has resisted international pressure to legalize abortion for years. Back in 2013, pro-abortion groups accused Malta of allowing the “torture” of women because its laws protect unborn babies’ lives. The accusation came from the International Commission of Jurists, a human rights organization, in a report to the Human Rights Council. It also claimed Malta is unnecessarily endangering women’s lives by prohibiting abortions.
Until recently, a number of European countries protected unborn babies by prohibiting abortions. However, Ireland abandoned its pro-life laws in 2018 and Northern Ireland was forced to legalize abortion 2019 by the British Parliament. Abortions are illegal in almost all cases in Poland, but Malta is the only country that fully prohibits abortions in Europe.