A value inherent to us all

The Life Network Foundation Malta is very disappointed and disillusioned at the proposal to introduce the morning-after pill in Malta.

The orchestrated spin and the frequently misleading, as well as biased, information presented in the local media are most worrying. The unfolding developments taking place in our country have totally bypassed Malta’s laws, both on abortion and on the protection of embryos.

It bears reminding that the Malta Medicines Act stipulates that the role of the Medicines Authority is only to make recommendations. It is the function of the licensing authority, a role taken up by the Superintendent of Public Health, to issue marketing authorisations for medicinal products intended for the Maltese market. Unless the licencing authority formally delegates such responsibility to the Medicines Authority, the function of the second is limited to nothing more than making recommendations to the first.

The circumstances of conception are many and varied, but the right to live is a value inherent to us all

The Superintendent of Public Health, as the representative of the licensing authority (or even of the CEO of the Medicines Authority in the event of such powers being formally delegated to him by the same licensing authority), must assume full responsibility for ensuring that marketing authorisations (licences) for medicinal products intended for the Maltese market comply fully with national legislation.

Therefore, abortion being illegal in Malta, if a licence is issued for a pill in the face of scientific evidence demonstrating its abortifacient properties, the issuing authority – in this case, the Superintendent of Public Health – bears great responsibility and may also become criminally liable and answerable to the law.

The Life Network Foundation Malta has noted that the recommendations made by Parliament through the joint health, social affairs and family affairs committee regarding the licensing of the pill in Malta have acknowledged not only that different types of pills have different modes of action but that there are those that operate by the prevention of implantation of the embryo, thus achieving their goal by an abortifacient process.

This clear and objective scientific evidence was presented to the joint parliamentary committee, pointing out that most morning-after pills are abortifacient in their effect.

Notwithstanding this, the individual authorities responsible for recommendations or deciding whether or not to introduce this product in Malta have seemingly chosen to ignore these facts and to recommend in favour of the pill’s importation nonetheless.

It was really disheartening to note the manner in which NGOs defending life from conception were harassed and interrupted during the hearings in Parliament.

This attitude was in marked contrast to the way exponents of the pill were allowed to promote their views. In particular, Anthony Serracino Inglott, who vigorously promoted the introduction of the pill, was allowed to speak unhindered and well beyond the time allocated to others.

These so-called consultations were roundly condemned as ‘selective and suspicious’ by Martin Balzan, the secretary general of the Medical Association of Malta. He also objected to the fact that the MAM was not even consulted. For us, the so-called public debate and parliamentary hearings were just a charade, and the public was denied a clear awareness of what is at stake.

Worse still, even the major political parties seem to have stifled internal debate and their conclusions betray the superficiality with which they studied and addressed this very important issue, which will have a far-reaching impact on the way we respect life issues.

Besides the scandalous and callous disregard for the abortifacient potential of these drugs, we also deplore the very concept that trivialises sexual behaviour that will lead to the promotion of promiscuity. Is this in the interest of society and the common good?

The Life Network again declares it has no reason to doubt the overwhelming volume of evidence that points towards the abortifacient properties of morning-after pills and reaffirms and upholds its commitment to the defence of life from conception to natural death.

The circumstances of conception are many and varied, but the right to live is a value inherent to us all.

Dr. Miriam Sciberras is chairperson of the Life Network Foundation Malta

Ref http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161105/opinion/A-value-inherent-to-us-all.630048

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