A Catholic priest in Malta criticized a prominent political leader this week for abandoning his pro-life stance on unborn babies’ right to life.

Lovin Malta reports Monsignor Anton Gouder reminded Malta Parliament Opposition Leader Bernard Grech that abortion is the “murder of an unborn child.”

Earlier this week, Grech appeared to abandon his pro-life stance in an interview with Xtra, saying politicians “shouldn’t tell people how to live their lives,” according to the report.

Malta is facing intense international pressure to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions. It is one of the few countries in Europe that still protects their right to life.

Grech is the leader of the Nationalist Party (PN), which opposes abortion, but his interview this week raised serious questions about his commitment to protecting unborn babies’ right to life.

To Gouder, the political leader’s statement was clear.

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“Those who are scared of giving clear answers are actually giving extremely clear answers,” the priest responded.

He accused Grech of hypocrisy, saying his party’s goals do include telling people how to live their lives.

“In its electoral manifesto, the PN promised to decide how people should live their lives in several sectors, such as hunting, planning and development,” Gouder said. “Will [Grech] tell us that we don’t have a right to decide how people live their lives on these issues, too?”

He continued:

“I am awaiting the response to be that these sectors impact the rights of other people and future generations. If so, then should politicians get to decide how people should live their lives when the rights of other people and future generations are at stake?”

“Therefore, doesn’t the murder of an unborn child (abortion) impact the rights of other people and future generations?”

Grech’s latest statement is a major shift from just a few months ago. In November, he said his party “will always remain against abortion,” according to Lovin Malta.

Malta has resisted international pressure to legalize abortion for years. In 2013, pro-abortion groups accused the country of “torture” because its laws protect unborn babies’ lives. The accusation came from the International Commission of Jurists, a human rights organization, in a report to the Human Rights Council. It also claimed Malta is unnecessarily endangering women’s lives by prohibiting abortions.

Until recently, a number of European countries protected unborn babies by prohibiting abortions. However, Ireland abandoned its pro-life laws in 2018 and Northern Ireland was forced to legalize abortion 2019 by the British Parliament.

Abortions are illegal in almost all cases in Poland, but Malta is the only European country that fully prohibits abortions. Polls show strong public opposition to abortion in Malta.

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