Gay rights movement sues pro-lifers Gift Of Life for abortion libel

Gift Of Life repeatedly accused MGRM on Facebook of being funded by Americans in a bid to campaign for abortion through the introduction of embryo freezing.

The Malta Gay Rights Movements has filed a libel lawsuit against the pro-life organisation Gift Of Life for repeatedly alleging in various social media posts that the gay rights group was being funded by women’s health group Planned Parenthood.

The American organisation is the largest single provider of reproductive health services, including abortion, in the United States.

In its lawsuit, MGRM – through lawyer Cedric Mifsud – told the court that that in various posts on Facebook, Gift Of Life had alleged that the gay rights organisation was being funded by Planned Parenthood to support embryo freezing legislation in Malta.

The Labour government is planning to reintroduce embryo freezing after the practice was banned by the Nationalist administration in 2012 when it introduced assisted reproduction on the national health register using only egg freezing technology.

The legislative proposals, yet to be published, will not introduce abortion which remains a criminal act in Malta.

MGRM has denied having any ties to Planned Parenthood, and instead it declared that in 2010 it had acquired funds from International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) – which is a separate organisation to Planned Parenthood – to submit proposals to the government on the introduction of the Gender Identity Act.

In various Facebook posts however, Gift Of Life made various claims such as:

• “BREAKING NEWS! ARE THE MALTA GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT BEING SUPPORTED BY INTERNATIONAL ABORTION PROMOTERS – PLANNED PARENTHOOD? The drive to legalize abortion by stealth, under the disguise of Embryo freezing is now clearer for you to understand.” (30 September)

• “It is now clear that Planned Parenthood are using the MGRM, as well as this new pro-abortion group, in a two-pronged attack on human life in Malta. If you stay silent, you are failing those who cannot defend themselves.” (1 October)

• and: “There is no other reason why IPPF are financially supporting the MGRM in Malta other than to then push to open their abortion franchises (clinics) here as well. It is huge money, a colossal business and too tempting to resist for the world’s most aggressive extremist pro-abortion organisation to resist.” (2 October).

IPPF is a pro-choice organisation that advocates for women’s health rights as well as access to contraception and safe abortion services, and is funded by the European Commission and the United Nations Population Fund, amongst other national governments.

The MGRM said Gift Of Life’s declarations were false and that it never promoted the introduction of abortion to Malta. “MGRM has no position on abortion, and this issue does not even fall within its aims. These comments are libellous in its regard because they contain false and defamatory allegations in a bid to put the organisation in disrepute.”