The Bio-Ethics Committee: a declared conflict of interest?

The debate about IVF procedures rages on and no, I am not going to join it. Like I explained to the lady who asked me how come I have not yet put my two cents’ worth, more qualified people than me have already made the relevant points.

This doesn’t mean I’m not following the debate. Which is why last week I found myself reading an opinion piece on this same website, titled “The moral and civil law on IVF” (read here: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120407/opinion/The-moral-and-civil-law-on-IVF.414406).

Noticing that the piece was penned by a gentleman of the cloth, a Fr Emmanuel Agius, I naturally expected it to present a firm stance in defence of Bishop Mario Grech’s earlier declaration that IVF is a “highly abortive” procedure.

Many are those who profess outrage whenever a religious representative announces himself against divorce/homosexual marriage/*insert 21st century lifestyle here*.

The Roman Catholic Church, like all other organised religions, has its own set of rules and these are hardly likely to change just to make things easier for Joe Public. Given that we do live in a democracy, the church has a right – like everyone else – to make its opinion known. It is then up to each individual to decide how to react to this opinion.

So yes, I fully expected Fr Agius’s piece to place itself firmly within the “IVF is abortive” camp. What I did not expect, on the other hand, is to read that Fr Agius is a member of the government-appointed, national Bio-ethics Committee.

Further research revealed that this Committee has not one, but two, priests on its board: Fr Agius and Fr Ray Zammit. The conflict of interest between the two gentlemen’s roles on this Committee and their duties as priests is a glaring one, to put it mildly. Read more here.

 

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