Students claim a mockery of a debate on abortion took place on Thursday at Junior College. The event was attended by members of Doctors for Choice, and Doctors for Life as well as a lawyer and a priest.
Students who attended the debate stated that they felt they could not receive proper information on the topic at hand, abortion. When questions related to medicine were asked Fr Christopher Caruana would attempt to answer, someone with a biased opinion who would not be as well informed on the subject as the practising professionals present.
Insite Malta reached out to one of the pro-choice panellists for comment. Dr Jamie Grech appeared tense throughout the debate and frustrated, said students. “I admit that it’s quite the challenge to remain calm when human rights are being disregarded or professions slandered” said Dr Grech.
At one-point students said that Fr Caruana began discussing terrorism and Auschwitz which had nothing to do with the topic at hand. He was not stopped by the mediator. Once Fr Caruana had completed his piece Dr Grech interjected “Unfortunately, these are just some of the comments from the opposing side that I felt cheapened the quality of the discussions. These comments say more about the speaker than the debate itself, though.”
Additionally, students felt that the moderator present, Michael Grech a philosophy lecturer at Junior College, appeared biased. Students said that he would try and hurry along the pro-choice speakers and give ample time for the pro-life panellists.
“I’m bound to answer that I could have said much more, but I’m sure we’d all say that. I do take issue with the shutting down of arguments, and I feel certain comments should have been stopped in their tracks (those on terrorism, Auschwitz, mistrust of doctors). Again, I’m sure all panellists wanted to reply to each other’s comments, but I feel I was mostly given the opportunity to do that. This might be as most questions were aimed at the anti-choice panellists.” Said Dr Grech on the issue.
Furthermore, it appeared as though Dr Joelle Azzopardi a member of the pro-life panel seemed to be uniformed about certain medical procedures related to abortion. However, Dr Grech simply stated that while they did disagree on terminology and what statements from the UN say he feels that this is just proof of the need of a fact checker being present at future debates of this nature.
While students feel that the overall debate was a flop Dr Grech is happy that such a debate even took place. “I’d say it was a success by virtue of it happening at all– D4C have previously been invited to debates where the opposing group had pulled out.”
If anyone wants to discuss matters further or wants more information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, head over to Doctors4Choice Malta on Facebook, Instagram, or twitter, or check out the website at d4c.mt. If anyone is considering abortion, Abortion Support Network provides unbiased, non-judgemental advice on +356 27780991, or their website, added Dr Grech when asked for final comments.
Dr Joelle Azzopardi the Doctor from Doctors for Life was contacted for comment but we have not yet received a response.