I have read with incredulity the article ‘Need to reform abortion law’ by Nils Muiznieks. I would like to remind people that when we joined the EU a special provision was made that our pro-life laws would not be interfered with. That was in 2003, long enough for people to forget about it.
We have an Embryo Protection Act too, which protects life from conception to natural death.
I have worked in the pro-life industry since 1991 – that is 26 years. I was the administrator of Life Save the Unborn Child in Central London and I would like to share a few experiences.
We had counselling rooms where women could share their problems about being pregnant and get the support they needed to make their own decisions whether to keep the baby or not.
It was highly confidential and I never heard a counsellor divulge a single story about the women they were looking after.
The counsellors were all voluntary.
We used to get women who had had an abortion come to us to train as counsellors be able to advise people not to make the same mistake they did.
One of them had said that she had recurring nightmares where she was on top of a high building and her baby was falling off the edge and, try as she might, she could not save the child.
What does that say about abortion?
A woman lives with deep regret after having had an abortion and needs very tender care and counselling to help her recover from such an unnatural procedure.
Another common post-abortion complication includes depression, which could manifest much later.
We had Life houses where pregnant women used to live until they had their child. Each house was looked after by a volunteer who was a Life mother. She looked after their needs and made sure they were well cared for. We used to prepare a layette for their babies, provide cots, prams, etc and help them apply for government accommodation. There were five such houses around London.
My job was to raise funds, send speakers into schools and hold Life Sundays when we gave a short pro-life talk in churches and gathered supporters for our cause.
The counsellors looked after the women and babies for the first two years of the baby’s life, providing fresh baby clothes every three months, subsidising nappies and milk and accompanying them to hospital for ultra sounds and subsequently to have their babies. In reality we became temporary members of their family.
It was beautiful work and very much appreciated by the clients.
I am now a board member of Life Network Foundation Malta and we are doing very similar work. Our recently launched Life Line for women is a 24/7 support chatline.
There is a phone line with allocated times and we offer help for women in crisis pregnancy and negative prenatal diagnosis. We also offer Save One courses for post-abortion healing.
This work takes a lot of love and understanding and clients are invited to call. The service offered is strictly confidential.
Our girls and women deserve help and support not abortion.
Muiznieks speaks from a cold legal standpoint and finishes his article by saying: Women have the human right to a safe reproductive life, free from coercion.
He also says: “Malta’s total ban on abortion contradicts the norms of international human rights law, because it denies women a range of fundamental human rights.”
We must remind him that Malta joined the EU with the proviso that anything to do with life would not be interfered with by the EU.
It is the human right of a woman to have the child she conceived while being given the care and support of a loving family, or failing that the support of a caring counsellor who will stand in for the missing family.
Muiznieks should kindly note that Malta does not need his advice.
We want to be teaching the next generation on the beauty of sex in the right context and not trivialising sex as though it were a toy you could take up and put down.
Sexual education needs to be taught in context of relationships and commitment.
The direct link between sex and life including early life needs to be clear to our young adults. Restraint, love and respect are values that can enrich relationships and are character building traits as is training to athletes and studying to passing exams.
Abortion will not solve the problem.
It cannot make a girl and boy unpregnant. You cannot erase a new life. It will only make the girl and boy involved the parents of a lost child. Try as you will, Muiznieks, in psychiatric terminology, the body knows and will keep the score.
The trauma caused by an abortion manifests sooner or later, so I think it is grossly unfair to peddle abortion as a concocted ‘human right’. We need to educate our youths to choose life not abortion.
Children, wanted or unwanted, planned or not planned, are gifts.
They need protection, especially in their pre-born vulnerable state.
Mary Hilda Camilleri is a retired music teacher who worked in pro-life organisations in London and now with Life Network Foundation.