Environmental justice

In his article ‘Social, environmental justice’ (September 16) Edward Zammit Lewis, chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, wrote that at the core of the Labour government’s beliefs are social mobility and social justice based on equality and environmental justice.

Zammit Lewis said that in the introduction to the Labour Party’s 2017 election manifesto the Prime Minister stressed how the party’s guiding values and principles determined the character of the Labour government, and were driving it forward to achieve the well-being and unity of the Maltese nation.

In May this year Environment Minister José Herrera said the Maltese government had decided to apply the precautionary principle and Malta would vote, at European level, against the renewal of licences for the herbicide glyphosate with potential links to cancer. The minister added: “For the Maltese government, environmental issues are definitely a priority.”

This was a very good initiative by the government in favour of environmental justice.

Hopefully, again, the same guiding values and principles will drive the government to do environmental justice with the first environment to man, the womb or, with the latest development, the petri dish for in vitro fertilisation purposes.

The womb should continue to be protected from abortion. The petri dish should not be used to produce an indiscriminate number of human conceptions which will be discarded (killed) later on as surplus to requirements. Abortion by a collection of words.

In her book Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations, Laura Westra, president of the Global Ecological Integrity Group and professor of social science at York University, Canada deals with work on environmental jurisprudence and the link to social justice.

She says: “In many countries a three-month-old foetus can be aborted – so what does the law say about the poisoning of an unborn child by a toxic spill, HIV infection or the future damage of climate change?”

Westra cites conclusive evidence from the World Health Organisation “that children, including unborn children, are particularly vulnerable to environmental threats and suffer consequences such as asthma, neurological developmental disorders, cancers, and birth defects such as children born with flippers rather than feet due to thalidomide exposure”.

Many of these disorders, she notes, are on the rise in developed nations where chemicals and pesticides are a part of daily life.

Westra adds: “Such activities disastrously and irreversibly impact future generations. To deny protection of their most basic rights would be to place our own autonomy over the rights of the defenceless. Many of these harms stretch beyond parental control, and without governmental intervention these harms will continue to plague those unable to speak in their own defence. 


“The global community needs to re-evaluate its concept of justice to include a ‘principle of integrity’ that would prohibit any activity that would harm those most vulnerable – the unborn as well as the poor and future generations.”

Reviewers of Westra’s book say that it examines the right of the unborn to health and sends shockwaves through governments, polluting industries, NGOs and legal departments dealing with pollution, human health and the rights of the unborn.

The book contains arguments on environmental harm, justice and the rights of future generations to health, while the traditional concept of social justice is challenged by the notion of a humankind which spans current and future generations.

Ironically, Carmel Cacopardo, the new leader of Alternattiva Demokratika, the environment party, in his maiden speech lately called for a debate on abortion, because a number of Maltese women are having abortion overseas. He seems to be calling for the introduction of abortion in Malta because of the expenses involved in going abroad for an abortion.

Is he suggesting abortion on demand be included in our free health services? What is the “ethical relativism” to which Cacopardo refers when we are talking about the rights and dignity of human life from conception already protected by so many laws of Malta? What exactly he has in mind is not clear at all.

The Malta Unborn Child Movement (MUCM) in an article in this newspaper ‘Abortions overseas’ (October 7, 2007) had suggested that a strategy, a scheme, or a plan should be devised to halt the flight of unborn children out of Malta for the purpose of abortion by creating the necessary compassionate, advisory and therapeutic services for pregnant women, and their partners, who would be considering solving their problems through abortion.

MUCM had argued that if the Gift of Life Foundation, an organisation within MUCM, had found the means to create these services, why not the government, which has much greater human and financial resources at its disposal. MUCM had also suggested a joint venture, a public-private partnership on this subject.

In fact for many years we have had the State’s counselling and supportive services Għożża and Benniena run by the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, similar services by the Church Cana Movement, and the service HOPE run the Gift of Life Foundation for cases of this kind.

The men and women who opt to go abroad to carry out an abortion do so for their own convenience and because the dignity of human life from conception is not a priority to them.

As an environment political party, AD has been promoting environmental justice for unborn children from its very beginning. In fact the Greens of Malta have been making pro-life speeches every year over the last 10 years on the Pro-Life Days organised by MUCM. Their last pro-life speech was on February 5.

Something has changed radically in AD about the beginning of human life. What is it really? Or is Cacopardo’s initiative on this subject  a follow-up to  Arnold Cassola, his predecessor, who in 2016 accompanied a young woman before the Maltese Parliamentary Committee on the morning-after pill to make a case for the introduction of the pill in Malta which, in many quarters, pharmaceutical and medical, locally and overseas, is considered abortifacient?

Tony Mifsud is coordinator, Malta Unborn Child Movement.

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