Even though I agree with their cause, I must admit I never really fancied most pro-life movements. I’m not referring to their followers, most of whom are genuine believers in the value of human life, like myself but to the lobbyists.
Many times it is a movement that comes out of the religious right in the U.S, the same lobbyists that gave us George W Bush and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lobbyists that support unfettered capitalism and ironically ally themselves with a notorious “human rights” lobbying group – the right to bear arms!
I definitely do not fancy Malta’s pro-life movement Gift Of Life, and the public figure or Paul Vincenti. The most obvious reason for this is not the U.S religious right connotations but their strategies, the latest being an attempt to put a link between divorce and abortion.
The worst thing about their strategies is that they are many times harming their cause (albeit non-intentionally) – preventing abortion from entering Malta. Abortion is a taboo subject in this country. No serious organisation is lobbying for it and the only people contesting elections who have abortion on their agenda are not political parties but freak independent candidates like Norman Lowell, Emmy Bezzina, and John Zammit. What Gift of Life are doing is putting the abortion issue on the discussion table. Thanks to them (much more than the freak candidates) abortion is now being discussed. A step forward from being just a taboo subject. Though the absolute majority of us (87% according to GoL surveys) are against it, now we started to talk about it, rather than disregard the subject completely. It’s like having Birdlife putting up a fight in a country where hunting is illegal and there is no serious lobbying group that wants to introduce it. Fighting what? Windmills?
Having said that, what I really don’t like in this movement is that it is completely inconsistent. I’m referring specifically to their sheer silence when it comes to the right to life of refugees.
We are right now witnessing serious human tragedies a few miles away from our shores. People, many times fleeing death itself (something that those of us who’ve worked with refugees have no doubt about) drowning in the sea, or (in the recent past) being refused their right to seek asylum and sent back to the claws of murderers and torturers like Gaddafi.
Yet, from this pro-life movement, complete silence – even when the leader of the opposition voices words that can put in jeopardy the life of these human beings.
This movement’s symbol is 9+. Yet the impression they give is that while life starts from conception, it ends at birth. Maybe it will only touch these people if they remember that the refugee they are ignoring had once been a foetus. And that now that the foetus is born, it is still a human being that deserves, amongst other things – to live.
P.S: I want to make it clear that I’m criticizing this pro-life (and most others as mentioned above) lobbying group not pro-lifers. I have met a lot of people who are strongly pro life when it comes to the unborn child who are equally concerned and vocal about the right to life of refugees.
While this group intersects many times with the Catholic church, I am also not attributing this inconsistency to the church. A lot of people in the church have voiced their concern on the life of refugees. Not only the Jesuits, Fr Mark Montebello, the Archbishop of Gozo and other public figures but also a large number of lesser known priests and other people within the hierarchy of the Catholic church.