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Watch: Thousands rally for embryo protection in Valletta

Placards ask 'which one of us is going to end up in the freezer?'

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Updated 7.30pm - Updated video

The crowd grew as the rally reached parliament square. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaThe crowd grew as the rally reached parliament square. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Hundreds gathered in Valletta on Sunday afternoon to protest against proposed changes to IVF laws, with numbers snowballing into the thousands as activists marched towards parliament square.  

Families, youths and several nuns filled Castille square at around 4pm ahead of the rally, which is being organised by the Life Network Foundation. 

Protesters held placards with images of embryos and emblazoned with text "which one of us is going to end up in the freezer?"

Their numbers steadily increased as they walked down Mechants Street and then back up Republic Street, and by the the rally reached parliament square, activists numbered in the thousands. 

MPs are currently debating changes to the Embryo Protection Act which would legalise embryo freezing.

Proponents of the legal changes say they are needed to help infertile couples conceive, and that unused embryos will be adopted. Critics have called the change "abhorrent" and said it will lead to unused embryos going to waste.  

Life Network Foundation chairperson Miriam Sciberras urged MPs to slam the brakes on the process to amend IVF laws. 

"Everyone empathises with couples who cannot have children," she told the crowd, as she argued that it was nature which prevented same-sex couples and single mothers from having children. 

"The definition of 'discrimination' is being stretched beyond all limits," she said.  

Pediatrician and rally speaker Joseph Mizzi said while he was all in favour of helping couples conceive, the proposed legal changes would be a " high price to pay,"

"Many [embryos] will end up dead or forgotten in a freezer." 

One couple who wanted children questioned the implications of the law, saying it could lead to siblings inadvertently getting married.  

Joanna Rose, who was born through anonymous sperm donation and reckons she has around 300 unknown brothers and sisters said activists were right to take a stand. 

"Knowing your medical history..knowing whether you are related to someone you pass in the street matters," she said. "Human reproduction is meant to be more dignified than this." 

VIP attendees

Earlier on Sunday, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia drove home his opposition to the proposed amendments by saying he would roll back the law should the PN enter government. 

Dr Delia was spotted among the rally attendees, along with PN MPs Clyde Puli, Kristy Debono and David Agius. 

Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech were also seen mingling in the crowd. 

 

Protesters gather outside Castille. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaProtesters gather outside Castille. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaPhoto: Mark Zammit Cordina

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