Thousands marched in Valletta to protest the amendments that would allow for the termination of pregnancies in certain circumstances. The battle lines have long been drawn between those who claim to be pro-life and those who claim to be pro-choice.
Life choices are at the heart of both sides of the argument. Both sides lay a stake in protecting life and lobby for a legal framework that respects their values.
The issue is too complex to tackle in black-or-white terms. If you have sat beside your partner and listened to the heartbeat of a pregnancy you will never be able to think of termination with an unclouded mind. Then again, when going through those early stages of a planned pregnancy, you only harbour thoughts of elation and hope that the next 35 weeks will go smoothly. Team life all the way.
It is not always so, is it? Even a desired pregnancy can turn into a nightmare due to sudden complications, and the multiple considerations regarding the health of your partner might suddenly override the feelings of jubilation.
Such decisions are never easy, but I have no doubt they bear the heavy consideration of the love for life. I am not sufficiently presumptuous to judge those who find themselves in the uncomfortable situation of having to choose, but I do feel that the law should be couched in such terms as to respect that right.
As I said, it is not an easy subject to broach, but, on the other hand, I was impressed by the mobilisation on both sides. Both sides want the law to reflect their appreciation of life choices. Both sides want the law to protect these life choices.
Life matters – it is central to both sides’ slogans, even if they reach different conclusions.
It is a pity then, that this lust for life, if you like, is not reflected elsewhere. It is a shame that pressure is not put on the powers that be to ensure that life, and the quality of life, is protected in every sphere of the law and its application.
The crowds are still to take to the street to protest the lax application of laws that should be protecting workers like JeanPaul Sofia.
I wonder why it seems to be so easy to get het up about the rights of the “unborn child”, but it is so hard to stand up for the rights of our children that are in the prime of their lives.
How many of the marching masses would rush to their placards and posters to protest the treatment of immigrants left at sea with children who are already born and left to die of thirst?
I am not comparing one life with another. What I am hoping for is consistency.
The issue I have is with the selective approach in this lust for life. The anger at our politicians riding roughshod over our rules and bending them to allow the encroachment on our lives and the quality of our lives seems to be selectively applicable.
We do not seem to have grasped the importance of a solid legal framework guaranteeing the commonwealth of our people. We close an eye to the step-by-step degradation.
Even something as simple as a bottle recovery scheme can have deleterious effects on the lives of the most vulnerable. Yet we scarcely lift a finger to change this situation.
When our rules increase the risk of harm for the poorest and most vulnerable among us, when the failure to implement proper legislation causes the weak to suffer, then we are found just as wanting in our endeavour to cherish and value life, in ensuring that all lives matter.