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PN indicates no free vote will be given on IVF leave motion

Motion is of a legal nature - spokesman

Opposition leader Adrian Delia. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Opposition leader Adrian Delia. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The Nationalist Party has indicated it will not give its MPs a free vote on a party motion that opposes a legal notice granting lesbian couples 100 hours of leave when seeking IVF treatment abroad.

Replying to questions yesterday, a PN spokesman said the motion on the IVF legal notice was purely of a legal nature, not an ethical or moral one.

Opposition leader Adrian Delia promised a free vote on all moral issues prior to his election as party leader last month.

The Embryo Protection Act prohibits same-sex couples from being given access to medically assisted procreation.

On Sunday, Dr Delia said the legal notice granting such rights to same-sex couples seeking treatment abroad was not in line with the law. The PN was merely seeking to eliminate a legal anomaly, he added.

A small faction of MPs within the party are arguing against the PN’s opposition to the legal notice, with MP Therese Comodini Cachia leading the call for a free vote to be given on the motion.

The party is merely seeking to eliminate a legal anomaly

She told this newspaper she had not been taken in by Dr Delia’s legal argument.

READ: PN and PL trade blows on IVF leave

Deputy leadership candidate Edwin Vassallo yesterday agreed with Dr Comodini Cachia’s request for a free vote.

But the spokesman said there was no obligation to discuss whether a free vote should be granted. A free vote would be discussed on ethical and moral issues, he said.

The spokesman went on to say that the Opposition understood from the Prime Minister’s statements last week that even the government should be voting in favour of the motion, having stated that the legal notice was not in line with the current law.

If and when the government proposed a change in the law, the Opposition would discuss whether a free vote would be required, the spokesman said.

When contacted, a spokesman for the Prime Minister made it clear that the government would not be voting in favour of the “discriminatory” motion”.

The spokesman pointed out that Joseph Muscat had been dead set against the Nationalist Party’s motion on IVF leave from day one.

He said any changes to IVF laws should be to widen their scope.

“The government is voting against the motion,” the spokesman said.

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