Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando: “Naprotechnology... is as if I were to give baked beans a new, fancy name.” Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi
Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has accused the government of pandering to the Church’s wishes by delaying legislation on in vitro fertilisation and instead championing natural family planning methods.
The political class should not pander to the threats of Bishop Grech
Producing a can of baked beans, the MP criticised Health Minister Joe Cassar and Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono for launching naprotechnology at the Gozo hospital as an alternative to IVF.
“Naprotechnology is simply a modern word to repackage the natural family planning method that people have used for ages. It is as if I were to give baked beans a new fancy name.”
Dr Pullicino Orlando said the ministers were either treating Gozitans as imbeciles or else trying to appease Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, who last month criticised IVF and put forward naprotechnology as an alternative.
“The political class should not pander to the threats of Bishop Grech,” Dr Pullicino Orlando said.
He pointed out that Pierre Mallia, an ethics adviser to the Medical Council, recently described naprotechnology as “nothing new” but an extension of what used to be called natural procreation.
Speaking at a press conference to mark a year since the divorce referendum, Dr Pullicino Orlando said some politicians had not learned the lesson to keep Church and state separate.
He admitted being frustrated at the government for consistently breaking its promise to legislate for IVF and cohabiting couples.
“The Prime Minister had promised a law on IVF by December last year, while Justice Minister Chris Said promised a law on cohabitation by June that would also include some form of recognition for gay couples. They are nowhere to be seen,” he lamented.
Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and Labour candidate Deborah Schembri, who formed part of the pro-divorce camp with the PN MP, said one year on Malta had not seen the disaster predicted by those opposed to divorce.
Mr Bartolo said the cross-party method used during the divorce campaign should be carried forward to other civil rights legislation.
They insisted there were no plans to create another movement to push for other issues such as gay marriage, butDr Pullicino Orlando did not exclude a personal initiative.
When asked about the adoption of children by gay couples, Dr Pullicino Orlando said he was in favour.
His position was shared by Mr Bartolo and Dr Schembri.