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Sunday, July 25, 2004

A woman's right to choose

Last week, an official Maltese delegation made a medieval spectacle of our country by presenting a conflation of religious beliefs and civil legislation during an official discussion with the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The reasons the Maltese government has against full compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women are religious rather than legal.

The main issue is women's reproductive rights. Does a woman have the right to choose whether to reproduce or not? According to Maltese law, the answer is no, never!

I will be the last person to argue against the idea that life begins at conception. However, I am the first person to insist that my views should not be imposed by law on any woman who believes otherwise. Why should I, or anyone else, restrict her option to terminate her pregnancy in a way that is safe for her? There are a number of options for any Maltese woman who seeks an abortion. Why should Maltese law eliminate the possibility of this practice in the safety of a Maltese clinic?

There's no point in asking whether this legislation should be passed in Malta or not. The right question is: when will there be a government that truly represents all to such an extent that it allows citizens to decide for themselves what to believe?

I am not advocating abortion. I am simply arguing for the legal right of anyone who feels that they should have one. In their moment of distress they should not be burdened further by a non-supportive government. Imposing religious beliefs by law on everyone in the land is the sort of thing we associate with the Taliban and other oppressive regimes rather than democratic and progressive governments.

The same line of reasoning goes for divorce too, of course. But that's another argument for another day.

Blogger Sangrona said...


I am new to this blogging world, but I ran across yours and this particular post really struck me. As a Catholic, I too, oppose abortion. But I believe in separation of church and state and have always said that the government shouldn't tell us what to believe.
I am astounded by the similarities in our thoughts on this "controversial" issue. 

6:32 PM, August 03, 2004
Blogger Joe Lee said...

To promote justice for its people a society maintains laws against things such as murder and child abuse. When an individual supports laws against murder and child abuse because of religious or other personal convictions they are not imposing their beliefs on others. Their view is consistent with society's goal of fostering justice. The Maltese delegation did not advocate practice of a religion, they opposed legalizing the killing of unborn babies. That is consistent with the goal of fostering justice.
Citizens are not allowed to decide for themselves whether to murder people or abuse children. Making the killing of an unborn child a personal choice is inconsistent with justice and concern for all persons. 

5:17 AM, August 05, 2004

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