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Embryo Protection Bill given second reading, Opposition votes against

The House of Representatives on Wednesday evening gave a second reading to the controversial Embryo Protection Bill.

All government MPs present voted in favour but one was absent.

All Opposition MPs, including those of the Democratic Party, voted against, citing objections centred on embryo freezing and surrogacy.

Jason Azzopardi, who is abroad, said in a Facebook post that had he been present, he would also have voted against. 

The vote was 36 votes in favour and 29 against.

The Labour Party said the bill gave new hope to people who suffered infertility.

Speaking soon after the vote in Parliament, PN leader Adrian Delia said the Opposition unanimously voted against the Bill. The 2012 law, he said, helped those with fertility issues and protected the embryo, but the new amendments did not protect life. The PN, Dr Delia added, was pro-life from conception to natural death, and would continue speaking on behalf of those without a voice.

“Today’s vote today is a clear show of the Opposition’s and the government’s principles… We will continue speaking to people with infertility issues, and see how, wherever possible, we can make use of technological advances. However, we will never cross the line and endanger life.”

The church had criticised sections of the bill, saying children should not be seen as a commodity. 

The PN had given its MPs a free vote.

The bill still has to be debated in committee, before the all important third reading vote. 

The President had called for reflection and later held a meeting with Health Minister Chris Fearne, who moved the bill. 

Mr Fearne said that he is holding meetings with NGOs and other bodies with a view of fine-tuning the Bill, where necessary, during the committee stage.

 

 

 

 

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