Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Times: JPO hits out at absence of promised IVF and cohabitation laws

'Politicians are still pandering to the clergy'
Monday, May 28, 2012, 16:00

Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando this afternoon hit out at the government for having failed to move promised legislation on IVF and cohabitation.

The political class, he said, should not pander to the wishes of the bishops.

Dr Pullicino Orlando was speaking at a press conference with Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and Labour candidate Deborah Schembri a year after the divorce referendum. The three had led the Yes campaign last year.

In his comments this afternoon, Dr Pullicino Orlando strongly criticised Health Minister Joe Cassar and Gozo Minster Giovanna Debono over comments they made during the introduction of Napro Technology at Gozo hospital a few weeks ago.

He said that Napro technology was a repackaging of the age-old natural family planning method and it was unfair to treat Gozitans like imbeciles by giving them the wrong impression that this was an alternative to IVF.

Producing a can of baked beans, Dr Pullicino Orlando said the way the ministers had acted was like presenting baked beans under a new fancy name.

A law regulating IVF was promised by Dr Gonzi last year, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, however there was no sign of it yet.

It was unfair that some politicians even within his party, feared introducing such a law in order not to offend some bishop, he said - pointing out that Bishop Mario Grech had praised Napro technology while hitting out at IVF.

"The political class should not pander to the threats of Bishop Grech," Dr Pullicino Orlando said.

He also pointed out Justice Minister Chris Said had promised that the Cohabitation Bill was to become law by June, but this too had not happened. This law, Dr Pullicino said, was meant to have included some form of recognition for gay couples.

"One year after the divorce referendum, some politicians have learnt nothing about separating Church and State," the Nationalist MP added.

In other comments, Mr Bartolo and Dr Schembri said that one year on, Malta had not seen the disaster which those who opposed divorce had predicted.

They said the way divorce was introduced showed the wisdom of people from all political parties working together and this was a method which should be carried forward for other legislation on civil rights.

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