President Emeritus and Malta Trust Foundation’s chair Marie Louise Coleiro Preca told The Malta Independent that she is against abortion, but believes that women should not be criminalised for it.
This comes after Independent MP Marlene Farrugia tabled a bill in parliament proposing the decriminalisation of abortion in Malta. Abortion is a hotly debated and polarised topic in the country, and was bound to stir controversy. Since then, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said that the PN is against abortion, while the PL said that although Prime Minister Robert Abela has previously stated that he is against abortion, he will “carefully follow” the discussion on the decriminalisation of abortion.
This newsroom contacted President Emeritus Coleiro Preca and former Prime Minister Alfred Sant for their views on the matter.
“I have always been very clear that l am against abortion, even when l was President Of Malta l stated my beliefs, and my stand on the issue has not changed,” Coleiro Preca said.
“Throughout the years, my political life and most of my work have always revolved around children and their rights. l therefore believe that I cannot fight for the rights of children unless I also fight for their right to be born,” the former President explained.
However, Coleiro Preca remarked that women who end up performing an abortion should not be looked at in bad light, but rather be helped, while the ones who administer the abortion should face consequences.
“Nonetheless, I believe that women who, for some reason or another, go through an abortion should not be criminalised, but instead should receive the necessary psycho-social and emotional support, whereas the person or persons who administer the abortion procedure should face consequences and be punished according to the law,” she said.
Former Prime Minister and current MEP Alfred Sant said that the topic of abortion has been a long time coming and should be discussed.
Sant reiterated his position that the discussion on abortion is long overdue. He noted that currently there is a “strong majority against abortion.”
“This is like what happened with divorce over the years, where it started with a big majority against the idea, and then it slowly started to change,” Sant remarked.
However, the MEP did note that this topic is not a “black and white” situation.
“For a lot of people in Malta it is tied with the idea of protection of children, so one would have strong emotions towards it,” Sant said.
The vast majority of Europe allows abortion to be performed, however, back 2019, Sant had acknowledged this fact as well. “It is certainly true that a large majority of countries and citizens of the European Union consider abortion to be a natural right of women, and that, where accepted, provide facilities for its safe performance. Nevertheless, it is also certainly true that in the Maltese Islands a very large majority opposes abortion, and this is also true of all political parties,” he had said.
Other towering figures have come out against abortion, with the President of Malta George Vella saying that he would resign if such a law was placed before him to sign.