Malta Today and The Malta Independent have reported NGOs Aditus Foundation and the Malta Gay Rights Movement for strongly criticising Malta's new IVF law as an "unashamedly homophobic law" because it denies access to medical services on the basis of sexual orientation. The new Embryo Protection Act denies IVF services to single people who are not in a relationship that can be considered "stable" by the authority that will regulate the service.
Indeed, this service will only open to "prospective parents", who are defined as "two persons of the opposite sex who are united in marriage, or...who are in a stable relationship with each other". This is an open-door policy towards discrimination towards those whose lifestyle is deemed unfit for purpose by decision-makers.
There are also other important issues such as the issuing of a tender for the provision of IVF services through public-private-partnership. Here one must look into matters such as the degree of public service obligation, job conditions of workers involved and universal access of persons despite their income. Moving towards private health services raises big concerns in this regard. For example, those seeking this service must pay after the third attempt.
Call the IVF policy whatever you like, but you cannot call it egalitarian.
All in all, party-political silence on this issue means that civil society should be even more vociferous in its call for equality. The same applies to similar issues such as same-sex marriage, which seems to have disappeared from political vocabulary recently, to the benefit of the anti-equality lobby.
This is an example of party-political consensus as bad news. Let's give this the resistance it deserves.
(This blog appeared on Malta Today, 6th September 2013: http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/blogsdetails/blogs/IVF-2nd-class-citizens-and-party-political-consensus-20130906 )