Government and Opposition declare their position prior to voting on IVF amendments
In a press conference held an hour before the vote was taken on the Third Reading to introduce the new IVF law, the Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister, Chris Fearne said that the time has come for politicians to stop acting like doctors, and allow doctors to do their work. Dr Fearne said that IVF is a medical treatment and therefore the Government cannot continue discriminating when it comes to this treatment.
Dr Fearne said that since free IVF treatments were introduced at Mater Dei, 127 babies have been born. He said that unfortionately, out of 600 women who did the IVF cycles, 470 women did not manage to fall pregnant because of the way the law is now. He said that medical systems exists to help these women and that is what is going to happen with this Parliamentary vote.
“Right now in Malta there are 57 women undergoing IVF treatments who are over 40. The possibility of success with the IVF law at the moment, where only two fertilized eggs can be implanted, is practically zero. Every week that passes the chances of these women to have a baby is decreasing. That is why it is important for us to pass this low and instead of fertilizing two eggs, we are giving more opportunity for them to have a baby,” said Dr Fearne.
Dr Fearne said that the Labour Party will be writing a new page in the progressive history of this country. He said that from the beginning that the Government has debated and taken on board suggestions in what he has described as a wide-ranging consultation process. He also mentioned that the Government even kept on consulting at the Committee stage, and changed parts of the law, including for surrogacy to no longer be a criminal act, and that it can only be done altruistically, with no money changing hands. Surrogacy will now be discussed in a separate law.
The Deputy PM said that over the last few days, the Government had received communication from a number of NGOS’s. While he had listened to them, some of of what they had proposed were things the Government did not agree with, including reducing the number of frozen embryos by introducing high fees to discourage people from freezing them.
Meanwhile, one and half hours before the vote on the proposed amendments to the Embryo Protection Act, the Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia confirmed that he would be giving a free vote to the Opposition MPs.
In answer to a question from TVM, Dr Delia said that when it comes to issues of ethics and morality he would give a free vote as he said he has always done. He invited the PM to do the same and allow his MPs to vote according to their conscience.
In his press conference, Dr Delia said that this law goes against everything the PN stands for. He said that the party would continue to vote against it until the end.
The Leader of the Opposition has described this law as one which destroys life and equality before a child is born. He said that the Government boasts about being the Government which has legislated the most in favour of equality, but has now chosen to create inequality before birth. He said that this law strips society of its humanity.