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MALTATODAY 11 December 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 11 DECEMBER 2022 COMMENT Equal pay for equal work RENEE LAIVIERA PAGE 13 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON Another building collapse PAGE 7 JOSANNE CASSAR The subject of my outrage is greater than yours PAGE 6 EDITORIAL Those who wage a culture war... PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN A Republic not a Theocracy PAGE 5 Public discourse is also developing in the context of equal pay for work of equal value that refers to non- discrimination in pay What are we skinning? The 'abortion' 'debate' getting way out of hand, way too fast. Why are we skinning it? Be- cause we're witnessing history in the making, and as usual, that grandiose statement sounds great on paper but is often the result of deeply distressing – if sometimes grotesquely funny – realities on the ground. A lot's been happening, so do you wanna narrow it down to at least a couple of examples? Well, I'll just throw a couple out there and you can let me know what strikes your fancy best... Go on... The pro-life lobby using a large cut-out rug of a baby on the steps of Castille to make their point about why abortion is bad. Then trotting out the 'they're giving us the gift of death for Christmas' argument during one of their speeches. Remind me why they're so hot under the collar, again? This is all in reference to a bill that would absolve both the doctor and the mother of criminal liability, should the pregnancy in question severely risk the physical and mental health of the mother, and require termination. Ah, right. A legal amendment that would provide a measure of peace of mind to women. We've never been terribly hot on that as a society since pretty much the dawn of time, so it's no surprise that the elderly and conservative-leaning would look on such an amendment with at least a modicum of weaponised disdain. But hang on, a lot of the protestors were actual women. Quite a few mature ladies, and a boatload of nuns being chief among them. Their opinion is just as valuable as that of any other member of society. Internalised misogyny is a thing. Also, their right to an opinion is undisputed; but it's not a given that absolutely everyone has the right medical, legal and ethical cojones to crown themselves experts on what is ultimately an amend- ment which aims to safeguard the lives of women put in an impossible situation. Sounds like a large cut-out of a baby is just the correct way to bundle up all of those complex nuances into one succinct image. I register your sarcasm heartily: that swaddled-up infant brings fabric softener adverts to mind... Pretty much the polar opposite of the 'fetuses at risk' thing they're fighting for. But it certainly lacks that which they want to avoid: the women who may or may not need this proce- dure to be done. Oh look, they repeated the baby rug thing in front of parliament a couple of days later. They've even surrounded it with candles. Honestly, that I can get behind. It's quite the witchy vibe for a group that appears to be primarily made up of hardcore Catholics. So kudos on colouring outside the lines, as it were. Do say: "The right to assembly is sacrosanct, and it's hardly surprising that any legal amendment or political move which even gestures towards something vaguely resembling abortion will stoke the ire of a sizeable chunk of the popula- tion in Malta. But as many grass- roots lobby groups on the island have learned the hard way over the years, optics are essential, and effective protests are often a trial-and-error process." Don't say: "That baby does nothing for me. If you really want to invoke the wrath of God, go full Damien or GTFO." No. 169 – The Great Castille Baby Shower

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