Abortion bill dominates headlines on day of second reading / Malta News Briefing – Monday 28 November 2022

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Updated 1640

The Times of Malta reports that voice messages between Malta Philarmonic Orchestra CEO Sigmund Mifsud and an official who later pleaded guilty to sexually harassing a female colleague appeared to indicate the two were plotting to turn the case against her, a court heard on Monday.

Maltatoday says that a man who died last August while diving near St Paul’s Islands may have been hit by a boat, police said on Monday.

TVM reports that Malta will receive almost €22 million from the European maritime, fishing and aquaculture fund for the years 2021-2027. The program will allocate almost 80% of the funds for the sustainability, protection and conservation of maritime environments and invest 14.6% for the sustainability of aquaculture and its promotion.

Newsbook leads with reports that the gathering of evidence against Roderick Cassar, who stands accused of murdering his estranged wife, is set to begin on Tuesday morning. The case has been assigned to Magistrate Joe Mifsud.

Updated 1200

Unemployment edges slightly up in October

The monthly unemployment rate for October 2022 stood at 3.1%, increasing by 0.1 percentage points when compared with the previous month. This rate is equivalent to 8,982 persons. The unemployment rate during October 2022 for persons aged 15 to 24 years (youth unemployment rate) was 8.1%. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed youths amounted to 2,293, whereas those aged between 25 and 74 years stood at 6,689.

PN, PL trade blows on abortion stand

The two major political parties exchanged strongly-worded statements on the recent positions taken on abortion. The PN said that Prime Minister Robert Abela was abusing of his position by legalising abortion via a misleading amendment. Ancticipating a debate in parliament on Monday, the PN said that what Abela is doing is typical of a PM who has no respect to the value of life from conception to the last breath. In reply, the Labour Party said the PN knows full well that abortion will remain illegal The aim is to clarify the position of the doctor and the woman in circumstances when there is a medical complication that puts the woman’s life in danger, Labour argued.

Malta did not deny rights of American women who was refused an abortion

Malta is arguing that the rights of an American woman who was refused a request to terminate a non-viable pregnancy were not denied given that she was never at any risk of dying. Andrea Prudente is asking the Constitutional Court to declare that her human rights were breached when doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy when her waters broke at 16 weeks. The state advocate argued in Court that at no point was Prudente at risk of dying while she was being treated at Mater Dei Hospital and at no point was she subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment. Malta is also arguing that the European Convention for Human Rights was never violated because the state had not interfered in her family or private life as was being alleged by Ms Prudente.

Morning Briefing

Health should not justify killing the unborn – Archbishop

Archbishop Charles Scicluna questioned whether one should kill someone because of a threat to one’s health and not to their life, in a reference to a government-proposed bill which would amend Malta’s pro-life approach on matters concerning the beginning of life and allow doctors to terminate a pregnancy when the woman’s health or life are at grave risk. “Who am I to deny this being a life? Who am I?” Archbishop Scicluna asked, as he underlined that every child should live “because life is too precious and beautiful”, the Archbishop said on Sunday. The bill is set to go to second reading later today. (Newsbook)

NGOs call for protest against abortion ‘by stealth’

A national protest against the introduction of abortion is being held on Sunday by the Life Network Foundation in collaboration with Doctors for Life and I See Life. The protest will start from in front of Castille Square, Valletta at 3pm. These NGOs referred to the legislative amendments presented by the government to articles 241 and 243 of the Criminal Code, saying that, as proposed, these amendments open the door for the introduction of abortion in Malta. (Times of Malta)

Abela warns against abuse of abortion motion

Prime Minister Robert Abela has warned that whoever abused the legislative amendment allowing the termination of a pregnancy when a woman’s life or health is at risk, will have to face legal proceedings as abortion will remain illegal in Malta. “The amendment will not legalise abortion. It is disappointing that some are trying to justify their opposition to this amendment by twisting facts. They have every right to oppose it, but not to instil fear. Twisting facts is a disservice to the public.” Laws making abortion illegal in Malta will be untouched, he reassured. Abela, speaking on One Radio on Sunday morning, said that the state and society had failed to do enough to safeguard domestic victims of violence, noting that protection orders were not enough if there were not enough human resources to protect those at risk. (Times of Malta)

Grech says that PN led by him was the only pro-life political force in the country

Bernard Grech has urged people to speak out against what he says are attempts by the government to introduce abortion. In an interview on NET TV, Grech accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of reneging on his promise to never introduce abortion in Malta. “Robert Abela wants to introduce abortion and is lying about it. He is unprincipled and only takes decisions in order to boost PL’s majority,” Grech said. (Maltatoday)

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