A truly humane society is measured by how it cares for its weakest members, namely the preborn, the ill, the disabled and the elderly. It is a society that attributes an intrinsic value to life in all its stages, be it an embryo, foetus, infant or adult. This is the present Maltese scenario, one of our strong unifying positions in a politically-divisive country.
We are a people who still value life, appreciate life and care for our disabled and elderly brethren. Unfortunately, for most countries, commodification of life has become rampant.
Prenatal diagnosis does not change the intrinsic value of life. The dignity of a child does not alter with a diagnosis of Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida or any other health condition. Disability-selective abortion is nothing more than a ‘search and destroy mission’ to kill innocent infants whose life is deemed ‘inferior’. This is a justified eugenics in search of the perfect child.
Malta remains the only country in the EU that fully respects human life from conception. However, the unremitting pressure to comply with women’s so called ‘reproductive rights’, including abortion, remains. It might be pertinent for members of Parliament to point out to our European counterparts that we are free to choose protection of life for our preborn infants.
Liberal laws and liberal people or countries are not really liberal when they threaten or try to coerce those who disagree with them into complying.
Rita Joseph, a Canberra-based writer, lecturer and human rights advocate, aptly describes the sequence of events taking place. “As ‘sensitivity to the gender implications’ of a woman’s putative right to abortion has grown to gross proportions it has swamped all residual sensitivity to the lethal implications of abortion for the unborn child victims. Under the guise of ‘reform’, the feminist revolution has taken the path of excess that so many revolutions before have taken: the oppressed have become the oppressors.”
Speakers from both political parties, to their credit, have consistently spoken out against abortion both locally and in political fora abroad. Recently, Environment Minister Leo Brincat defended Malta’s position against abortion in the Socialist Group meeting at the Council of Europe. It is thanks to the vigilance of such representatives that Malta is still free to choose life.
Our stand for life includes respect for the humanity and fragility of the human embryo. Embryos have a right not to be intentionally manipulated and endangered, inherent in the fact of being human beings.
The freezing of embryos constitutes an offence against the respect for human life at its most vulnerable because this procedure exposes the embryos to increased risk of harm and death. It also exposes the embryo to wilful suspension of his/her life.
Playing word games with human lives endangers all of us and justifies anything.
Achieving a pregnancy should not come at the expense of demeaning embryonic life. When we speak of ‘pregnancy rates’ without taking into account the humanity of the unborn, we risk going down a dangerous road that puts the protection of the embryo at risk, to say the least.
As quoted in Times of Malta recently, Simone Attard, vice president of the Embryo Protection Authority, insisted that a 28 per cent pregnancy rate last year compared well with the 32 per cent success rate reported by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
This success rate without embryo selection and despite having no ‘freezing’ in the first year augurs well for the professionals working in this field. Professional training should increasingly be focused on improving this technique not resorting to ‘freezing’ as a back-up.
If we are to remain a country ‘free to choose life’, we cannot afford any complacency regarding protection of human life at any stage. The fundamental principle that all rights flow from the human person must remain at the heart of our society. Playing word games with human lives, in the end, endangers all of us and justifies anything.
True freedom is not to be confused with freedom from responsibility but implies a responsibility to our fellow man, including our unborn embryonic brothers and sisters.