Of all the taboos that exist on our island, abortion is the one that gets the most gasps, bad looks and head shaking. But why is it that we refuse to even discuss it?
Considering that, until 2012, Malta was one of the very few countries in the world where divorce legislation didn’t exist, we’ve really come a long way.
We’re now one of the world’s most forward-thinking and acting nations in terms of LGBTI rights, we have, for all intents and purposes, re-evaluated our drug laws, and secularisation is something even most devout Christians want to see enforced.
But when it comes to abortion – we stop dead in our tracks…
We’re scared. People who are pro-choice, which NO, does not mean pro-abortion, are scared of voicing their opinion out of fear that they will be labelled ‘anti-life’, ‘immoral’ and even ‘heretics’… Yes, branding yourself as ‘pro-choice’ is social suicide in a country that doesn’t want to address some of its most pressing issues.
We’re hushed. Those who are in no man’s land when it comes to abortion have no means of getting any relevant and conclusive facts and figures about abortion. We’re not told how many women travel to other countries to get an abortion, how many of them risk their lives in doing so, and how introducing abortion in Malta would make things safer for these people.
Some of us are just bigots. Some of those who are in favour, and I refuse to use the term ‘pro-life’ as though those who, like me, are pro-choice are against life, think of themselves as being superior to those who aren’t. They think of themselves as the moral benchmark of our society and they are dead set in not giving people room to discuss and understand this issue. They of course have every right to their opinion, and society should rightfully respects their views, but some of them are quite guilty of ensuring that others who do not share their sentiments on abortion are persecuted for it.
But now it’s time we called a spade a spade and addressed this issue. Girls and women are going abroad to get abortions, and our responsibility as a nation is as much to them as it is to their unborn children.
I admit it’s not the most fun thing to discuss. But it’s not your body or your life we’re discussing. Here we’re talking about a woman’s right to lead the life she wants to lead. So who am I to tell a woman she has to carry a child for nine months and go through giving birth?
And, no, not all women who get pregnant and don’t want that particular child were raped or are ‘sluts’. Some women want to do it so as not to give up on their career, while others consider it because they can’t afford to take care of a baby. And those are just two of the many, many reasons.
Regardless of the ‘why’, however, a woman should have the option of a safe and psychologically monitored abortion in her own home country, with the medical standards we’re used to.
And while you may not agree, and that’s fine, the reality is that it’s high time we at least discussed it!
What do you think of James’s argument? Is it time to discuss abortion? Let us know in the comments box below.