An invitation: keep the doors open

The abortion debate gets nastier by the minute. This was expected. It may even get worse!

The priest who described pro-choice PN candidate Emma Portelli Bonnici as a later day Hitler, kicked off this week’s instalment! The Archbishop’s Curia at Floriana forced the removal of the facebook post where he published these views: yet the damage was done. Will we ever learn to discuss anything respectfully? Is this too difficult to expect?

The Labour Party is being extremely cautious. It is very rare to hear any Labour Party speaker express himself or herself on the subject of abortion. Labour is aware of the different and contrasting views within its ranks when debating abortion. That in itself is healthy and could potentially lead to a mature debate. The current Labour Party leadership, however, as readers are aware, is acutely conservative on the matter even though there is a progressive element among its voters which is of the opposite view. This includes a couple of present and former electoral candidates and MPs/MEPs.

The PN on the other hand, going by Bernard Grech’s declaration earlier this week has not yet learnt its lessons from the divorce referendum campaign, ten years ago. I respect its political position on the matter but I still cannot understand its constant denigration of those within its ranks who have the courage to speak their mind. Stifling political debate is very damaging.  It has long-term effects which go much beyond the current debate!

As pointed out elsewhere, Bernard Grech’s declaration signifies one thing: the abortion debate is closed within the PN ranks, and anybody who dares think otherwise should start packing. From where I stand that is the clear message conveyed by Bernard Grech.

Within ADPD, the Green Party, last May, after a three year long internal debate, we approved a clear political position in favour of decriminalisation of abortion, as a result of which any woman opting for an abortion would not be subject to criminal action. We further emphasise that abortion should not be normalised but that it should be limited to specific, extraordinary and well-defined circumstances.

We have highlighted that Maltese legislation on abortion is not fit for purpose. It needs to be brought up to date after more than 160 years since its enactment. It requires to be brought in line with medical and scientific progress over the years.

We identify three such extraordinary circumstances in which abortion is justified, namely, when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger, when a pregnancy is the result of violence (rape and incest) and when faced with a pregnancy which is not viable.

There is definitely an urgent need for more emphasis on reproductive and sexual health education at all levels of our educational structures. This is a gap which needs plugging at the earliest!

We have been criticised by some as not going far enough. Others have stated that we have gone much too far.

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is key in the abortion debate. It is essential that women who undergo abortion are not threatened any more with persecution and prosecution. They need the state’s protection as a result of which more will seek help before taking critical decisions. This will save lives as well as avoid unnecessary medical complications.

The abortion debate in Malta is unfortunately characterised by long periods of silence, alternating with outbursts of hate, insults and extreme intolerance. This is definitely not on. Political parties should take the lead by encouraging contributions to a clear and objective debate.

While others close their doors to the debate, ours will remain wide open.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 14 November 2021

Il-proposta dwar l-abort

 

Il-pubblikazzjoni mill-Fondazzjoni għad-Drittijiet tan-Nisa ta’ dokument li jipproponi strateġija nazzjonali dwar is-saħħa sesswali hu pass il-quddiem f’dan il-pajjiż. Fid-dokument, intitolat Women’s Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights, il-fondazzjoni tagħmel 7 rakkomandazzjonijiet dwar il-kontraċezzjoni, l-ippjanar tal-familja, l-edukazzjoni sesswali u l-aċċess legali u sigur għall-abort.

Min-natura tagħhom dawn huma proposti kontroversjali li jeħtieġu diskussjoni matura li hi tant nieqsa f’dan il-pajjiż.

Meta f’Settembru li għadda, fl-ewwel indirizz tiegħi bħala Chairman ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika kkummentajt dwar dak li kien ġie diskuss fil-Parlament taż-Żgħażagħ ftit qabel u għidt li l-pajjiż jeħtieġlu diskussjoni serja u matura dwar l-abort kien hemm min staqsieni “għaliex dan”? Din id-diskussjoni ma hemmx bżonnha, kien hemm min qal.

It-tweġiba għal dan hi waħda sempliċi: għax aħna niffurmaw parti minn pajjiż demokratiku u l-politika tal-pajjiż, inkluż dik dwar is-saħħa sesswali u reproduttiva hi suġġetta għall-iskrutinju pubbliku. Ħadd m’għandu l-ebda dritt li jagħlaq ħalq ħadd billi jostakola diskussjoni. Għandna bżonn iktar diskussjoni pubblika u inqas tkeskis u tfesfis fil-widnejn.

Bla dubju din hi diskussjoni li ser tkun waħda emottiva u ser tirrifetti l-fatt li l-pajjiż għaddej minn trasformazzjoni radikali fejn il-pluraliżmu qiegħed bil-mod il-mod jinfirex fl-oqsma kollha tal-ħajja inkluż fl-etika u l-valuri li nħaddnu.

Din hi bidla li ħadet spinta bid-dħul ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropea. Għax fl-2004 ma bqajniex iktar gżira iżda sirna parti effettiva mill-kontinent Ewropew. Dan ġieb u għad irid iġib tibdil li jingħoġob imma ukoll tibdil li jdarras.

Mela ħalli d-diskussjoni tibda bis-serjetá.

Niffukaw fuq edukazzjoni sesswali sħiħa

Ann Marie Azzopardi Parliament

 

Nhar l-Erbgħa Ann Marie Azzopardi Segretarja Ġenerali taż-Żgħażagħ ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika attendiet għall-laqgħa tal-kumitat parlamentari konġunt (Saħħa, Familja u Affarijiet Soċjali) dwar l-introduzzjoni tal-Morning After Pill.

Hija emfasizzat il-bżonn illi d-diskors dwar l-introduzzjoni tal-Morning After Pill jiffoka iktar fuq l-attitudni lejn is-sesswalità u lejn l-edukazzjoni sesswali.

Qalet “importanti li dan il-kontraċettiv ikun disponibbli bħala l-aħħar ħarsien f’każ ta’ emerġenza. Huwa importanti wkoll li titneħħa l-attitudni negattiva lejn is-sesswalita’ għaliex din l-attitudni tista’ tkun ostaklu għal żvilupp tajjeb fil-ħajja u l-edukazzjoni sesswali tal-individwu.”

Hi kompliet tgħid: “Għalkemm ninkoraġġixxu l-aċċessibilita’ għall-Morning After Pill, nsostnu li għandha tkun akkumpanjata minn riforma fil-qasam tas-saħħa sesswali u fl-aċċessibilità għall-kontraċettivi u għall-counselling sesswali.”

 

Id-disgħa li huma kontra?

0-9

Ma kontx nistenna aħjar minn 8 minnhom.

Imma kont nistenna li l-Ministru Helena Dalli tkun taħsiba mod ieħor dwar il-Morning After Pill. Forsi mhiex l-aħħar kelma tagħha. Nittama, għax fil-Partit Laburista, hi waħda mill-ftit b’rashom fuq għonqhom.

Il-kampanja favur il-Morning After Pill għandha l-appoġġ ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika għax din tagħti kontroll iktar lill-mara Maltija fuq x’tagħmel b’ħajjitha. Hu kontroll li huwa meħtieġ li jkun f’idejn il-mara u f’idejn ħadd iktar.

Nifhem li hemm min ma jaqbilx u nirrispetta l-opinjoni ta’ dawn. Imma tajjeb li jkun emfasizzat li l-użu tal-Morning After Pill m’huwiex appoġġ għal abort. Għall-abort kimiku hemm pilloli oħra (differenti mill-Morning After Pill) li ħadd ma huwa qed jitkellem favur tagħhom.

L-introduzzjoni uffiċjali f’Malta tal-pillola kontraċettiva t’emerġenza [Morning After Pill] tista’ tgħin mara f’mumenti t’emerġenza, imma, kif qalu tant tajjeb Claire Azzopardi Lane u Anna Azzopardi fl-istqarrija li ħarġet Alternattiva Demokratika, din mhiex ser issolvi l-problemi moħbija ta’ natura psikosoċjali li jistgħu jkunu l-kawża ta’ tqala mhux mixtieqa jew mhux ippjanata.

L-introduzzjoni tal-pillola kontraċettiva t’emerġenza [Morning After Pill] għandha tkun parti minn strateġija fit-tul li jkollha fil-mira tagħha riforma mill-qiegħ tal-politika dwar is-saħħa sesswali tal-poplu Malti: kampanja li trid tibda minn edukazzjoni sesswali posittiva bbażata fuq ir-rispett reċiproku bejn il-mara u r-raġel.

Huwa ħażin, kif anke emfasizzaw Claire u Anna fl-istqarrija tal-bieraħ ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika, li ħafna drabi kwistjonijiet ta’ kontraċezzjoni u saħħa sesswali feminili jiġu mpenġija f’dawl negattiv. Għax din l-attitudni negattiva tista’ twaqqaf lin-nisa, b’mod partkolari lil dawk ta’ età żgħira, milli jfittxu l-għajnuna li jkollhom bżonn.

Hemm bżonn li nxammru l-kmiem biex nokkupaw l-ispazju li presentement huwa okkupat minn xi fundamentalisti li ħlief ħsara m’għamlux. Pajjiżna jixraqlu aħjar.