Who is actually breaking the constitution?
APDP demanded the impeachment of the President of the Republic of Malta, George Vella citing Article 72 of the Constitution that states: ‘When a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall without delay signify that he assents.’ – At first glance, it appears they have a point – however, what if the law that has been passed is itself unconstitutional as I shall argue? And what if both the President and Parliament know it?
The President is the Head of State, and his primary task is to act as a custodian and guardian of the constitution. Our current president does not act on whims, and I am certain that he has consulted widely, not least with constitutional lawyers prior to taking his stance. Could it be that he knows that parliament will not push him to act against his conscience because they know that he could claim he is acting in a manner to safeguard the constitution? Could this be the reason that a political compromise that avoids a constitutional crisis from being precipitated that would paralyse the government has already been agreed to? A compromise that would allow the President to maintain his pro-life stance, while the law would be signed by an Acting President allowing the government to continue to function? Far from betraying Labour as many of the illiterate trolls that inhabit cyberspace insist, he is in fact saving their bacon. If I were president, I would have thrown them the gauntlet.
The Constitution is the law of the citizens of the State – it is there to prescribe the authority of government and to protect the same citizens from any arbitrary exercise of power. Constitutions are written in a way, that every citizen should be able to understand his own basic rights without resorting to legal experts, particularly where they address their fundamental rights.
Therefore, despite not being a lawyer, I am literate enough to argue that the recent amendments approved by parliament vis-a-vis the law regulating IVF are in fact unconstitutional.
Article 33. – “Protection of right to life” (1) & (2) – clearly states that: “No person shall intentionally be deprived of his life save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the law of Malta of which he has been convicted“. It continues to state that a person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life if the following conditions are met: “a person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this article if he dies as the result of the use of force to such extent as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case – (a) for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property; (b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; (c) for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny; or (d) in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence, or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.”
Nowhere is it stated that a person may be deprived of life for any other reason including IVF treatment.
Now it is true that our constitution does not define life or a person, but it would only be a vexatious and mendacious individual to argue that in the constitution the concept of both life and personhood does not extend to the pre-born.
First and foremost, why would we have criminalised abortion if we thought that these did not extend to the unborn? Wouldn’t the pro-abortionists have already opened a constitutional case directly challenging this position? Why are they asking for its decriminalisation instead?
Secondly – the definition of personhood and life is in my opinion qualified by another article in the constitution – which is 2.(1) that states that: ‘The religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion.’
No matter how archaic it may seem to progressives today, the framers of our constitution did not include this clause en passant, but to the contrary with a very specific purpose – which is precisely to qualify what might otherwise remain ambiguous.
In this sense, given that Catholic doctrine explicitly states that life begins at conception, we have to likewise take it as a given, that this is what our constitution also understands it to be.
Furthermore, Malta is also a signatory to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child 1959 which states in its PREAMBLE – that: “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth” – Not only that – but when ambiguity arose about those signatories who provided for abortion, it was none other than Malta and Senegal that proposed an amendment to explicitly protect the rights of the unborn child from conception. Eventually, the proposed amendment was ultimately retracted, when the text of preambular paragraph 6 as adopted was changed to read that the rights of the child stood “before as well as after birth.”
Hence there can be no doubt what Malta and the spirit of its constitution understand life and personhood to be, and given that the constitutional clauses still remain unaltered so must the legal positions.
Now the vexatious and mendacious will no doubt argue, that by freezing embryos discriminately, they are not ‘depriving life’ from anyone – aside from the fact of whether being involuntarily frozen in a cryogenic tank for eternity can actually be called life at all – do they not know that many accidents do actually happen? More importantly, do they not know that, apart from embryos running the risk of being damaged irreparably by the screening test itself, at least 30% of fertilised embryos condemned to a frozen future would not survive the thawing process even if they were eventually ‘required’?
The protestation by ‘experts’ that this attrition rate is equal to that if done with the implantation of ‘fresh embryos’ (their words) – is neither here nor there – in fact it is pure sophistry – for nowhere have they shown the case to be that a ‘viable embryo’ that does not survive the thaw from freezing would not have survived if he or she were to be ‘freshly implanted’ – or indeed vice-versa.
The fact, therefore, is, that we have willingly accepted the concept that 30% of all ‘viable embryos’ will be condemned to death just to ensure the possibility of bringing one to birth.
If this is somehow in keeping with the spirit of our constitution, which explicitly states that none should be deprived of life – then nothing actually is. Far more erudite people than me know this – people in parliament, lawyers, journalists and not least the President know this but for various reasons ranging from ideological interests to political expediency to cowardice they choose to remain silent – or worse willingly subvert the truth and in the process render our constitution ever more meaningless.
If the constitution is incapable of protecting those who need it most, what makes you think, that when your time comes, it will protect you?
In fact, I will go further, the law as currently approved is nothing other than a program of negative eugenics – which not only renders meaningless our own constitution but also contradicts the EU’s own Charter of Fundamental Human rights which explicitly – supposedly – prohibits it:
One wonders how the Europhile Greens have conveniently missed this too.
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Don’t take notice of him.