During the recent debate in Parliament on the financial estimates of the Embryo Protection, Nationalist Party Claudio Grech said that the foetus should be included in the definition of ‘minor’ within the Child Protection Act. During the same discussion PL MP Rosianne Cutajar called for a mature discussion on the Embryo Protection Act to include amendments that would allow preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) which is a procedure used in IVF prior to the implantation of the human embryo to ensure that only embryos free from genetic defects are transferred into the womb. During the same debate Labour Party MP Etienne Grech said that all government members were against abortion.
Discussions in Parliament on the protection of human embryo need to be consistent and clear. If all members of Parliament are against abortion, as MP Etienne Grech claimed, then the same members should be consistent in their claim for the defence of the human being from its conception. They should claim unequivocally that they do not support amendments that would introduce PGD in the Embryo Protection Act because such technique would lead to the destruction of the vulnerable human being.
Unlike other forms of prenatal diagnosis, in which the diagnostic phase is clearly separated from any possible later elimination and which provide therefore a period in which a couple would be free to accept a child with medical problems, in this case, the diagnosis before implantation is immediately followed by the elimination of an embryo suspected of having genetic or chromosomal defects, or not having the sex desired, or having other qualities that are not wanted. By treating the human embryo as mere “laboratory material” or a “cluster of cells”, the dignity of the human embryo is seriously compromised. Dignity belongs equally to every single human being, irrespective of his parents’ desires and his genetic condition!
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is therefore the expression of a eugenic mentality that accepts the wilful destruction of the human embryo in order to prevent the birth of children affected by various types of anomalies. Such an attitude is shameful and utterly reprehensible, since it presumes to measure the value of a human life only within the parameters of ‘normality’ and physical well-being.
What we need in our Parliamentary discussions is a consistent ethics of life. Those who are truly against abortion must voice their opinion against any medical procedure which would destroy the life of an innocent human being at its inception, including the technique of PGD which selects human embryos and consequently the wilful destruction of embryos. The flawed reasoning behind one’s arguments against abortion and at the same time in support of PGD is highly inconsistent and dangerous to the ‘culture of dignity’ that respects and protects those who are vulnerable, including disabled human beings.