Monday, October 15, 2007
Maltese Overwhelmingly Reject Dutch Abortion Ship
By Hilary White
VALETTA, Malta, October 15, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch abortionist and activist was met with protests when she arrived in the Maltese capital of Valletta October 10 to deliver a lecture titled, "The Right to a Dignified Motherhood: The Crucial Abortion Issue." A Maltese correspondent with LifeSiteNews.com said that the visit was met with "an overwhelming opposing reception."
As the strongly pro-life Maltese protesters, organised by Gift of Life Foundation, stood in a silent candle-light vigil outside, Dr. Gomperts spoke to invitation-only media at the Castille Hotel in Valetta last Wednesday. Gomperts, whose activism began with Greenpeace, is the founder and director of the abortion organisation Women on Waves and is best known as the owner and operator of the so-called "abortion ship".
Gomperts sails the converted tugboat into international waters outside pro-life countries to generate publicity and controversy and, when possible, to provide surgical abortions and the deadly abortion drug RU 486. It is not known how many children have been killed aboard the ship that was dubbed the "death ship" by Argentine media in 2006.
Gomperts told media that her particular aim was promoting the RU-486 "abortion tablets" that she claimed are safer than giving birth. "Many women do not know of the existence of medical [chemical] abortion and that's one of my goals in Malta, to make them aware that if they can obtain the medicine they can do it safely themselves in the first nine weeks," she said. Dr. Gomperts claimed that "a small number" of Maltese women had contacted her privately to arrange abortions on her ship.
In the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration is currently facing multiple law suits from women have suffered severe complications when using the abortion drug, including number of deaths.
Gomperts' visit was organised by Dr. Emmy Bezzina, Malta's most prominent abortion activist whose fringe political party, the Alpha Liberal Party, promotes abortion and divorce, positions strongly opposed by a majority of Maltese who remain strongly faithful to their Catholic religious heritage in the face of secularising pressure.
The Alpha Liberal Party's stated goals are legalized "divorce, cohabitation, illegittimate (sic) children, gay rights, decriminalising abortion." Malta is between 95% and 100% Catholic and is one of the last countries in Europe to retain a clause in its constitution naming Catholicism as the official religion. The party's success can be measured by recent election results in which Dr. Bezzina garnered 0.0049% of the valid votes cast.
A two-sided debate was clearly not welcome at the event as Gift of Life Foundation chief executive Paul Vincenti was prevented from attending the press conference. The Times of Malta reports that no members of the public were allowed to attend the press conference.
Dr Gomperts, who has two children, dismissed the existence of post-abortion syndrome, and told the press that being a mother has only strengthened her support for abortion. Employing a long used abortion slogan familiar to pro-life advocates around the world, she said, "Every child has a right to be a wanted child."
She said that having children of her own has "made my conscience stronger about the immense importance of voluntary motherhood."
Confirming that she would have no qualms about aborting the child of a 15 year-old, Dr. Gomperts said, "For young women it's more dangerous to give birth. I don't think that abortion has an extra risk. Why should a girl of 15 not have the right to the same medical care as a woman of 25?"
Asked if she had ever had an abortion herself, the 41 year-old Dr. Gomperts' hesitation surprised the Times reporter Ariadne Massa who called the response "unexpectedly punctuated by moments of silence".
"I don't think that... erm... The erm... The reason why I hesitate to answer this question is because by making it... erm... I think I am a woman like all the others," she said. "Like I said, 46 million women have an abortion each year, so I don't think that my personal experience in that matter makes a difference."
Gomperts' appearance was met by a statement from the Maltese bishops who said, "Abortion is not a choice or a right. Abortion is murder. Abortion is the denial of the right to life and the destruction of humans and civil society."
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Pro-Aborts Complain Pro-Life and Pro-Family Attitudes on the Rise in Europe
Abortion Ship Pelted With Eggs and Paint and Searched by Polish Customs Officers
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"