Marching for Life in Valletta

Marching for Life in Valletta

On Sunday 3 December 2023, hundreds bravely answered the call of pro-life activists by celebrating “love for the unborn” with a March for Life which was organized in Malta, precisely in Valletta, the capital city of the country.

Thanks to the The Life foundation Network, which planned the march, stated the theme of the march: Il Ħajja Dritt (Life is a Right), based itself on the fact that human rights without the right to life were superfluous. Of notable value was the gesture made by the participants wherein people gathered before the march around a large printout of a newborn baby that was spread across the stairs leading to the Auberge de Castille, the Office of the Prime Minister. Every unborn child does matter! It is Maltese like any other person who had the chance to be born.

Many of those participating in the march carried Maltese flags and posters of newborns and slogans such as ‘Pro-life= Pro-Women’ and ‘Kun il-vuċi tiegħi’ (be my voice). Moreover, the group walked along Merchants’ Street, St John Street and onto Republic Street where a number of activists delivered speeches. For instance, a senior lecturer in Social Policy and Social Work at the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta, Daniella Zerafa, stated in her speech that through her career, she came across various women who were pregnant but in difficult situations. “There are families who need support, the child in the womb is not just the responsibility of the mother, the father, or their family, but all of society is responsible for that baby in the womb,” she emphasized while adding that there should be support for families, particularly those suffering because of social or financial difficulties.

Patrizia Sandoval, a woman who underwent three abortions in the USA, said Malta is a little island however “it is the brightest star in Europe as it continues to fight for life and promotes a pro-life culture”. Sandoval kept sharing her story at the March to drive home the fact that the price of abortion is so high, especially psychologically and spiritually. She said: “After each abortion I suffered and so did my boyfriend suffer. We did not know we were suffering post-abortion syndrome.” Patricia said that she was never told she was aborting a baby but merely a “sack of cells”.  

Life Network Foundation leader and demonstration organiser, Miriam Sciberras, summed up the speeches by highlighting the right to life of the unborn children. Sciberras also observed how last year thousands gathered to make sure the law continued to protect the lives of the innocent and thanked the crowd for their support.

In another event in Republic Street on Sunday afternoon, an alliance of pro-life groups started a petition calling for the holding of an abrogative referendum to drop a recent amendment to the criminal law which they consider as opening the door to abortion. The amendments permit doctors to terminate a pregnancy when a woman’s life is at risk or her health is in “grave jeopardy which may lead to death.” The group includes political parties Partit Abba and Partit Populari, and other groups like Pro Malta Christiana, Parents and Children’s Rights Movement. The Abba party leader Ivan Grech Mintoff said the group disagreed with the amended law. He said: “We agree that if a woman’s life is at risk there should be an intervention, but that is what used to happen already”. In addition he said: “We want a referendum so that the law goes back to saving the lives of women and children, and there are no loopholes to introduce abortion.”

Let us not forget that precisely last year, thousands of demonstrators protested over the proposed legal amendments, which were ultimately watered down. In their open letter to the members of the Parliament of Malta regarding the amendment proposed on the termination of pregnancy of December 1, 2022, the Bishops of Malta and Gozo clearly said:

We wish to express our profound concern, shared by many others, over the contents of Bill no. 28 of 2022 which, if approved by Parliament as proposed, will permit abortion to take place in Malta. According to official statements, this amendment’s origins lie in the desire to enshrine into law that no criminal action would be taken against a doctor or mother should a baby in the womb die as a result of a medical intervention performed by a doctor with the intention of saving the life of the mother.

In reality, saving the mother’s life has always been the acknowledged priority when it has not proved possible to also save an unborn child’s life and no criminal proceedings have ever been instituted against either a doctor or mother when this unfortunate predicament has arisen. However, not only is this amendment unnecessary, but it also opens up the possibility to terminate the life of a child even when the mother’s life is not in danger because it permits an abortion to take place when the mother is at risk of suffering from a health condition that is not life threatening.

As shown in other countries, introducing a risk to health into the law facilitates terminations on a spurious pretext. It is abortion. Nothing more, nothing less. We view this as an extremely serious and retrograde development. Where a health condition requires treatment, we should do all we can to ensure that treatment is administered; when the mother is in difficulty of one sort or another, we should do all we can to ensure she is provided with whatever support and help she requires. However, terminating the life of another to safeguard someone’s health must never be an option. The crux of this matter does not lie in verbal assurances but in the text of the Bill. And the text of this Bill facilitates abortion in no uncertain terms and, to make matters even worse, does so right up to the point of birth.

A new life comes into being at the moment of conception. In the mother’s womb resides a human being, not an object that can be simply discarded or destroyed. Our heartfelt appeal to you is to recognise the great responsibility you have on your shoulders to protect the weak and vulnerable; and to preserve life, not destroy it. We pray that you will recognise the importance and implications of the choice before you and urge you in the strongest possible terms to choose life instead of death.

When speaking to journalists on the return flight from Slovakia, Pope Francis openly said: 

The second problem, that of abortion: it’s more than a problem, it’s homicide, whoever has an abortion, kills. No mincing words. Take any book on embryology for medical students. The third week after conception, all the organs are already there, even the DNA… it is a human life, this human life must be respected, this principle is so clear! To those who cannot understand, I would ask this question: Is it right to kill a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to kill a human life? Scientifically, it is a human life. Is it right to take it out to solve a problem? That is why the Church is so harsh on this issue, because if it accepts this, it is as if it accepts daily murder. A Head of State told me that the demographic decline began because in those years there was such a strong law on abortion that six million abortions were performed and this left a decline in births in the society of that country.

Let us never tire to speak up and defend with every possible means human life from conception till its natural end!

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Written by
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap