It’s the Prime Minister we should be chasing about abortion, not the Opposition leader

Published: January 10, 2017 at 4:57pm

The discussion in the screenshot far below is taking place beneath this article. The article itself is essential reading. I was going to write the exact same thing myself, but then saw that Chris Peregin had done it already and I could take the dog for a walk instead.

This is not a post about abortion, or the two party leaders who are both dead set against it – the Opposition leader on moral grounds, and the Prime Minister, who is amoral, because it will throw his party into internecine conflict and chaos, leading to destruction worse than that wrought on the Nationalist Party by divorce. Key members of the Labour government – like the Foreign Minister and the party whip – have released warning volleys to their party leader already about where they stand on the matter of abortion.

This is not even a post about the Nationalist Party’s chronic inability to seize the day when an opportunity for effective strategy presents itself. In Simon Busuttil’s position, I would not have said that the Nationalist Party will never consider abortion as long as I am leader.

Instead, I would have said: “The Prime Minister is against abortion and wants to avoid the subject because, at this delicate juncture, it is all he can do to hold his party and government together. The last thing he needs is to upset those of his ministers who are deeply against abortion when he has required their support and backing already for serious corruption. But journalists should be asking the Prime Minister what he plans to do about abortion.”

Then I would sit back comfortably and watch the feathers fly, having directed the debate where it properly belongs: into the Prime Minister’s lap, given that he is the one who can legislate for abortion but has failed to do so and doesn’t plan to do so either.

This is not even a post about the Facebook group Women for Women, whose administrators are now leading the campaign for abortion in Malta. I don’t disagree that there should be a campaign: I think it’s the height of self-serving hypocrisy to blank out the fact that thousands of Maltese women have had abortions in London, Catania and Rome over the decades, while congratulating ourselves for not allowing abortion in Malta. “Maltese women do not have abortions” is not the same thing as “Maltese women have lots of abortions, but they’re not allowed to have them in Malta, so that makes Malta great and we’re saving babies.”

But I do intensely dislike how Women for Women’s administrators and members are wilfully blind or deliberately disingenuous about the fact that the Prime Minister – yes, Joseph Muscat – has said that he is against abortion, that the Labour Party whip is fervently opposed to it, and that the Foreign Minister has released a warning volley against any suggestion that it might be introduced, already.

And instead, Women for Women are lashing out at the Opposition leader, who its rabidly anti-Nationalist and pro-Labour administrators can’t stand, though he has no power to legislate for abortion even if he wanted to. Because though Women for Women’s main mission is to campaign for abortion legislation, its secondary mission is to undermine the Nationalist Party’s chances of election, which is exactly why Nikita Zammit Alamango of Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti is one of their main movers.

Zammit Alamango led the army of organised Labour trolls online in the last general election, and in the one before that she led a team of people who wrote fake letters to the editors of the newspapers, protesting against the Nationalist government and pretending to be businessmen or housewives from Sliema. They were uncovered when an email went astray and ended up in The Malta Independent newsroom. As a reward for all this, in March 2013 she was given a grace-and-favour job at a government agency and made a director of the Water Services Corporation – in her 20s and with no company experience.

Women for Women, if they wish to be taken seriously, should target the government and the Prime Minister for a commitment on abortion, and not the Opposition leader who looks to lose the next general election, which is what they are working on achieving anyway. They think that if Muscat is elected again, then he will, in his second term, legislate for abortion. Not only are they wrong about this, but they also see nothing wrong in helping re-elect a thoroughly corrupt and destructive government, which means that they might also be amoral like the Prime Minister they admire, not caring about the wider consequences of their actions as long they achieve their own narrow, personal aims.

No, this is not a post about all that, even if that is what it looks like. This is a post about false logic and how terrible it is when people can’t think an argument through. Woman X exists because her mother didn’t have an abortion, their argument goes. No. Of course not. Woman X exists because her mother was raped in horrendous circumstances. And her existence is no more an argument in favour of rape than it is an argument against abortion.

People don’t exist because their mothers didn’t abort them. They exist because their mothers had unprotected sex at the right time of the month. The more unprotected sex more women have at the right time of the month, the more people will come into existence. But the creation of people cannot be used as an argument in favour of having unprotected sex as often as possible and whatever the circumstances.

It is my view that schools should do away with half the subjects they impose on children for 12 years and instead spend the time on teaching them how arguments are built and tested. The first time Maltese people ever encounter this novel concept is at university – and not all university courses teach the rudiments of argumentation and reasoning. And by then, it’s generally too late – besides which, not everyone goes to university.