CNA Staff, May 20, 2021 / 04:30 am
The president of Malta said this week that he would rather resign than sign a bill decriminalizing abortion.
George Vella, a medical doctor who has served as the country’s president since 2019, made the comment to NETnews on May 17.
“I will never sign a bill that involves the authorization of murder,” Vella said, according to the Times of Malta.
“I cannot stop the executive from deciding, that is up to parliament. But I do have the liberty, if I don’t agree with a bill, to resign and go home, I have no problem doing this.”
Vella was speaking after independent MP Marlene Farrugia introduced a bill in parliament May 12 seeking to decriminalize abortion, the first of its kind in the Mediterranean country.
The bill proposes the removal of three articles from Malta’s criminal code, under which anyone seeking or helping with an abortion can be sentenced to up to three years in prison, though prosecutions are uncommon.
Asked if he thought there were cases in which abortion should be permissible, the 79-year-old president said: “You have either killed or not killed, there can be no half death. I’m very clear, there are no ifs and buts.”
The two main parties in Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean with a population of half a million people, have signaled their opposition to the private members’ bill.