The Pro Life movement has hit out at the way the discussion regarding proposed amendments to the Embryo Protection Act is being handled.
The Movement, in a letter sent to the President, the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, and the Speaker of the House, noted that while “Health Minister Chris Fearne reportedly told the House Business Committee that there would be wide public consultation before the third reading of the bill, it seems government is planning a vote for 4 July.”
They took note of the long Parliamentary plenary sessions which took place to close the second reading of the bill, so that the Consideration of Bills Committee will then meet in plenary form to consider the bill. They note, however, that this procedure will not allow for direct interventions by interested parties and experts, who would be limited to advising an MP.
They said that to their understanding, this is not the ideal way by which a free widespread consultation should take place, arguing that it limits participation to MPs.
They argue that this method will force interested parties to identify with one side or another of the political divide, reducing their credibility and exposing them to criticism that they had a partisan agenda.
The Movement argued that experts and interested parties should have the possibility of putting their arguments forward without political affiliation. “Our aim remains to help infertile couples, with full respect to life and the fundamental rights of children who are born through this technology, while paying attention to moral and ethical considerations.”
As such, they have asked Parliament to consider adopting a discussion method that allows widespread participation from MPs, experts and interested parties in the spirit of the President’s request for consultation.
They argue that the President had asked for a discussion with all parties, not a debate limited to the confines of Parliament, in order for all voices to be heard.
The signatories of the letter include representatives from the Life Network Foundation, the Malta Unborn Child Foundation, the Gift-Of-Life Foundation, the Association of Pediatricians, the National Council of Women, the Cana Movement, and others.
The full letter can be read here.