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  • Writer's pictureDoctors for Choice

Banning Abortion > Rule of Law

A very important letter was published today 29.11.2020 in MaltaToday by Anthony Vella from Birkirkara. It poses a very important question: Is the opposition to reproductive rights so important for PN MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa that they are willing to overlook the erosion of rule of law in Poland that led to the rollback of these rights, and vote against the EP resolution? The same question is also relevant to the PL MEPs who abstained, but at least they did not vote against. Well done to Cyrus Engerer for being the only Maltese MEP to be on the right side of history on this issue.

Here is the letter in full:

Brussels riddles

A tale of two resolutions. One Polish MEP’s resolution on “deep concern about the state of media freedom” in the EU, which denounced violence and harassment of journalists, earned the accolades of all MEPs. The resolution was adopted with 553 votes, and pointed out – I quote – “attempts by governments of some member states to silence critical and independent media and undermine media freedom and pluralism”. MEPs said they were particularly concerned about the state of public service media in some EU countries, where they have become an “example of pro-government propaganda”.

As I understand, all Maltese MEPs voted in favour of this resolution, as so they should have done. Importantly, MEPs said they saw a “growing pattern of intimidation aimed at silencing journalists”, citing the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak as examples. Perhaps even more crucially, they called on public figures to refrain from denigrating journalists, and insisted on the legal obligation to investigate all attacks.

Then, on another resolution – this time on a decision by the Polish judges on an abortion ban – silence. In this case, only Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer voted in favour. Remarkable. Colleagues Alfred Sant and Josianne Cutajar abstained, Alex Agius Saliba did not even vote. Disappointing. Nationalist MEPs David Casa and Roberta Metsola voted against.

What is inexplicable is the fact that this resolution, which condemns the setback to women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Poland, is related to a decision made by “judges who are elected by and are fully dependent on politicians from the ruling coalition led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS)”; with MEPs describing the ruling as “yet another example of the political takeover of the judiciary and the systemic collapse of the rule of law” in Poland.

So it behoves one to ask MEPs, especially EPP members (PN) David Casa and Roberta Metsola, why their zeal for European values, their dedication for the causes that mandate transparent and meritocratic judicial appointments in Malta, are not extended to their EPP counterparts in Poland, and women in Poland?

For in the resolution they chose not to support – obviously because it concerns abortion – they refused to join MEPs calling to attention the fact the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s composition makes it unable to uphold the Polish Constitution. Why should abortion be such a convenient stumbling block, to apply consistency about one’s actions at home, to similar situations in other EU member states? The mind boggles.

Anthony Vella Birkirkara


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