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VALETTA, Malta, May 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In a strongly worded statement, Maltese President George Vella committed to opposing the introduction of pro-abortion legislation in Malta, favoring resignation over signing “a bill that involves the authorization of murder.”

Vella, himself a medical doctor before entering politics, has maintained a strictly anti-abortion position during his career and has publicly stated that he will not sign any pro-abortion legislation throughout his presidency. The president told The Malta Independent that his pro-life position “remains unchanged.”

The country also has an openly anti-abortion prime minister, Robert Abela, consolidating the nation’s proud yet lonely position as the European Union’s only state prohibiting abortion.

Marlene Farrugia, Independent Member of the Maltese Parliament, has sought to change that, forwarding a bill May 12 that would decriminalize abortion on the historically Catholic Mediterranean island. The proposal prompted Vella to declare that while he “cannot stop the executive from deciding” on the matter, as “that is up to Parliament,” he does “have the liberty, if I don’t agree with a bill, to resign and go home, I have no problem doing this.”

Vella confirmed that there can be no via media with regard to legislating for abortion in any way: “You have either killed or not killed, there can be no half death. I’m very clear, there are no ifs and buts.”

Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna offered his support to Vella’s position, saying, “The womb of a mother is something that is dear and holy, it is there that human life can grow. Let us pray that the womb remains a place of life, not a place where killing takes place.” Elsewhere the prelate added, “The dignity of women cannot be safeguarded by killing innocent children.”

Renowned pro-life activist and LifeSiteNews columnist Jonathon Van Maren wrote last week that even though abortion and “procuring a miscarriage” are currently illegal, the roughly 400 women who annually travel outside of Malta to procure abortions, and the 200 who order abortifacient pills online, rarely face prosecution.

Technically, however, women who have an abortion face three years behind bars and the medical staff who facilitate the murder face four years. Still, Farrugia proposes that all penalties around abortion be removed and replaced with a ten-year prison sentence only for those who force abortions.