Government must truly embrace a different notion of family in all its laws - Aditus, MGRM
Friday 6 September 2013 - 13:16 by Matthew Vella
Human rights advocates Aditus Foundation and the Malta Gay Rights Movement have lambasted Malta's new IVF law as an "unashamedly homophobic law" because it denies access to medical services on the basis of sexual orientation.
The new Embryo Protection Act denies IVF services to single people who are not in a relationship that can be considered "stable" by the authority that will regulate the service.
"It is a violation of human dignity by introducing unreasonable and unwarranted intrusions into physical integrity, in its criminalization of egg or sperm donation," aditus and MGRM said, after the government launched a tender for the IVF services to be delivered at Mater Dei Hoispital.
Under the IVF law, medically assisted procreation is only open to "prospective parents", defined in a discriminatory manner as "two persons of the opposite sex who are united in marriage, or...who are in a stable relationship with each other."
In practice, this means that same-sex couples will be automatically denied access to medical services on the basis of their sexual orientation.
The law also imposes severe criminal sanctions against any person who donates his sperm or her eggs outside of the IVF law framework. Aditus Foundation and MGRM have questioned the relationship between embryo protection and the fundamental rights of all persons to be protected from violations of their physical and mental integrity, and to decide on core matters such as their private and family lives.
"We question the compliance of Malta's IVF law with human rights law, since it seems to ignore legislation and jurisprudence unequivocally stating that all rights and obligations accessible by different-sex couples should be equally accessible and enjoyable by same-sex couples," Gabi Calleja, MGRM coordinator, said.
"We fail to understand why the government is concerned with what men do with their own sperm, and what women do with their own eggs. As long as no third parties are negatively affected, these are decisions for individuals to take, and not for the state to criminalise," Neil Falzon, director of Aditus, said.
Aditus and MGRM strongly urged the government "to truly respect, protect and fulfil the rights of all persons irrespective of their sexual orientation and to embrace a more realistic, understanding and indiscriminate notion of 'family'.