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'The child wasn't to blame. My wife was pregnant and she was having the baby'

Christie was raped, but she and her husband decided to carry on with pregnancy

A father of five whose wife decided to keep a baby conceived from rape said Malta should cherish its status of having among the strictest abortion laws in the world.

Pro-life campaigner, Jeff Christie, 43, made the appeal when speaking to the Times of Malta ahead of Sunday’s annual ‘March for life’ in Valletta organised by the LifeNetwork Foundation. He and his wife Jennifer will be addressing the event.

Jeff Christie and his wife, Jennifer, who was raped while on a business trip but decided to keep the baby.Jeff Christie and his wife, Jennifer, who was raped while on a business trip but decided to keep the baby.

It was in 2014 when Ms Christie, who works as a sign language interpreter, discovered she had become pregnant after a rape attack during which she was nearly killed.

Despite having always been pro-life, prior to her harrowing experience she would have made an exception in case of rape or incest, arguably like many others. Being a US citizen, she even had the option to go for an abortion but instead she decided to keep the baby with the support of her husband.

“The child has nothing to blame for what happened. My wife was pregnant and she was having a baby. That is it,” Mr Christie said. His wife could not be present for the interview as she fell ill.

“We have always been both pro-life and firmly believe that life starts at conception,” he added. Nonetheless, Mr Christie acknowledges that coming to terms with the fact of having to father a child conceived from rape is hard. On the other hand, he could not allow his sense of guilt of not having been there to protect his wife when she was raped to be exacerbated by not protecting the baby.

For his wife, the turning point was the first time they saw the ultrasound image. “When she saw that little pea on the screen, she smiled for the very first time in weeks,” he recalled.

The couple’s presence in Malta is no coincidence as there have been calls to legalise abortion by the Women’s Rights Foundation and pressure to start debating what some term as a civil right.

Mr Christie does not mince his words on the matter. “The bottom line of this debate is the choice to kill or not to kill.” He criticised the pro-choice lobby for intentionally taking life out of the equation to dehumanise the argument. “You cannot remove the fact that there is a life inside the woman’s body and abortion is ultimately a green light to murder somebody for whatever reason,” he insisted.

He looks with awe at Malta’s strict legislation, which is in the line of fire of the pro-choice lobby who have even made the argument that it is in breach of fundamental human rights.

If you feel you cannot handle the child, there are organisations that there to help

“I admire Malta for having among the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world. You should cherish your legislation,” Mr Christie remarked

“Right now, in Malta abortion is illegal and the reason for that is because everybody, including the law, understands that life begins at conception. If you are allowing abortion, you are allowing someone to kill another person,” he said.

“If you start to give reasons for justifiable abortion then you are going to start devaluing life in other stages. The concept of life being sacred diminishes when you take away the concept that a woman is protecting the child inside her,” he added.

Moreover, he made the point that abortion was a debate that went beyond God or religion. “I have lots of agnostic friends who are pro-life. Some argue that if the foetus does not have senses it is not alive, but that would mean there is no reason for keeping somebody in a coma alive. In turn, that would have the consequence of decriminalising euthanasia,” he warned.

Asked for his advice to women and couples pondering abortion, he said the choice before them should not be one between life and death. There always were other options, contrary to the impression given by the pro-choice lobby, he pointed out.

“If you feel you cannot handle the child, there are organisations, like LifeNetwork, that are there to help people before and after the pregnancy and even to come to terms with the trauma caused by abortion. No matter in what stage you are, there are people who want to help,” Mr Christie said.

His advice to Maltese legislators is to learn from the experience from around the globe, from the Irish case which only legalised abortion earlier this year to the US, where abortion was allowed even in the sixth month of pregnancy.

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