Malta divided over euthanasia issue – certain areas of the island are more in favour than others
40% of Maltese people are against the introduction of euthanasia in Malta, while 35% are in favour. This emerged from a scientific study by statistician Dr Vincent Marmara commissioned by’ TVM programme Popolin.
Apart from the minimal difference of 5% between the camp in favour and against, one-fourth said that they are undecided. They said that representatives in favour and against should continue to keep the discussion alive so that everyone can form a better opinion about what decision should be taken in this respect.
In Malta the law is clear – euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. Apart from this, the survey carried out by Dr Marmara shows that there is not much of a gap between those in favour and against the introduction of this practice to end someone’s life if they are suffering from too much pain and suffering.
If one looks at the demographics, the ones who are most in favour are aged between 16 – 25, while those who are over 66 are the ones who are most against. Gozitans are mostly against euthanasia while those who live in the North and the Harbour region are mostly in favour.
The majority of those who say they do not agree brought up the argument that only God has the right to decide when we die, while the majority of those in favour said that a person who is suffering has the right to decide for themselves. In fact, 25% who replied “don’t know” said it depended on the case.
Interviewed by POPOLIN, Sam Pearson, who in her youth was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease and is campaigning in favour of euthanasia, said that diseases will never be eradicated from the face of the earth and therefore she prefers to live a few years with a good quality of life instead of decades in agony.
“We need to evaluate what type of quality of life the person is living. One needs to consider that when we say a person keeps fighting a disease, we need to consider the quality of life they are living. My wish is that from the time I am born until I die, I will have a good quality of life.”
On her part, the Chairperson of the Life Network Foundation Dr Miriam Sciberras said that the discussion cannot focus on what an individual feels. “There are people in this debate who are going to be affected the most who do not have a voice, including people with dementia, those who suffer from depression or have a disability, especially the elderly who are afraid of these laws because in other countries they affect them adversely.”
Euthanasia found itself on the national agenda when PM Robert Abela was asked about the introduction of this law in Malta. He said that he has not yet formed an opinion about it however he is of the belief that this is a subset which merits discussion after long years of sweeping it under the carpet.