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TIMES of Malta - Friday, January 10, 2014, 00:01
Environment and the unbornby Tony Mifsud, coordinator of the Malta Unborn Child Movement
A 2009 World Health Organisation report on Malta, entitled ‘Environment and health performance review’, stated that children and adolescents are recognised as a priority in environment and health and occupational health.
Lately, it was reported (Times of Malta, December 20) that Malta is the first member state in the European Union to draft a national report on environmental health inequalities. Launched last December 19 by Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia the report identified vulnerable population groups at risk of being affected by inequalities related to housing, the environment and injuries.
Karen Vincenti, from the environmental health policy coordination unit, explained that exposure to second-hand smoke at home is a health risk for almost a quarter of Maltese people.
According to the report, exposure is most frequent among youths, those with secondary education and the unemployed and disabled people. Some 25 per cent of employees also reported being exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace.
There is scientific evidence that the misuse of alcohol, drugs and tobacco by parents before and during pregnancy and chemical and toxic emissions in the air, which is inhaled by mothers, fathers and 200 million unborn children worldwide every year, including 4,000 in Malta and Gozo, is causing a lot of physical and mental injuries to many millions of people before and after birth, everywhere. The exposure of parents and their unborn children to chemical and toxic substances at places of work is most probably leaving the same negative effects.
All this is likely to continue happening if a local and worldwide campaign, which declares that the health of unborn children is also suffering as a result of many environmental hazards, does not take place. This is needed to transform pre-polluted wombs into ones that no longer have chemical and toxic substances pumped into them for whatever reason, from wherever, and in which human lives can thrive and develop properly, from conception until born and even after.
The International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, which is devoted to the initial phase of human development, considers the earliest stage of life as the first ecological position of the human being and the womb as its first ecological environment. Pregnancy is perceived to be a period of active and continuous dialogue between the prenatal child, the mother and her psycho-social environment.
From a holistic view, human life is recognised as an indivisible entity and continuum of all human functions, both physical and psychological, in which no division between ‘body’ and ‘mind’ can be made.
When commenting on antenatal stress and the child foetal stress syndrome in their discrimination seminar ‘Protecting the future’ in November 2005, Russell Jones& Walker (Solicitors) concluded that scientific evidence shows that foetal heart rates increase when mothers are asked to undertake unpleasant tasks, reaching high anxiety levels than normal.
Great benefits can be gained during pregnancy for mothers and babies by reduced stress levels both at home and at work
In-utero environments can be affected by work and can change the future development of the foetus and have permanent effects on the child after birth.
In the US, research shows that diseases that were once thought to arise near the time of their manifestation in adult life are now known to have roots in early post-natal life.
Mothers in the top 15 per cent stress- or anxiety-affected groups during pregnancy have double the risk of children with behavioural problems (attention deficit and hyperactivity). They are also prone to emotional problems including anxiety and depression.
Maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy has a broad spectrum of adverse effects on the developing foetus, from impaired cognitive and language development to increased behavioural and emotional problems. Great benefits can be gained during pregnancy for mothers and babies by reduced stress levels both at home and at work.
The anxiety levels of parents of unborn children should be measured regularly at community and work levels and when high scores are recorded action by the competent health and other authorities should lead to active intervention related to working conditions and to lifestyles.
A step in the right direction in the EU has been made lately when, towards the end of 2013, the basis for the foundation of the European federation ‘One of Us’ to defend life from conception in the EU was laid.
After collecting nearly two million signatures in support of the ‘One of Us’ petition to the European Commission, the coordinators of the initiative in the 28 European countries gathered in Krakow, Poland and agreed to set up a European federation to defend life before the EU institutions.
‘One of us’ was the first European Citizens’ Initiative to raise a concrete proposal for legislative reform to the European institutions. The signatures were collected in the 28 EU members with a significant number of them in 20 of the states, representing 77 per cent of the European population.
Encouraged by this success, the coordinators of the initiative met also to celebrate the first European ‘One of Us’ conference. As part of this event, they agreed to instruct the executive committee of the initiative to work for the development of a proposed charter to serve as a starting point for the launching of a European federation that can embrace all the organisations working in the defence, and development, of human life from conception in the EU. This initiative brings together almost all of the pro-life and pro-family entities in Europe.
During 2013, the Malta Unborn Child Movement met high officials from the ministries responsible for justice, public dialogue and the family in the previous Administration. It also met high officials also from the ministries responsible for the family, social solidarity and health under the present Administration.
There are very good prospects that concrete action will be taken soon for the well-being of unborn children also in Malta.
Tony Mifsud is coordinator of the Malta Unborn Child Movement.
Jum il-Ħajja il-Hadd 2 ta Frar, 2014 - Ċelebrazzjoni tal-Ħajja
Il-Malta Unborn Child Movement tistiednek għal Jum il-Ħajja 2014. Jum il-Ħajja sar avveniment li jittella' kull sena, fejn fih tiġi ċċellebrata s-sbuħija tal-ħajja mill-konċepiment Nistidnukom tingħaqdu magħna għal dan l-avvenimt!
10.00 am: Zjara ta’ Kortesija milll-Moviment lill-E.T. Dr George Abela, President tar-Republika, fil-Palazz il-Belt.
Mixja għall-Ħajja mill-Iscouts u l-Guides tax-Xgħajra.
11.00am: Quddiesa Konċelebrata mill-Eċċ Tiegħu Mons Isqof Charles Scicluna fil-Kon-Katidral ta’ San Gwann, Valletta, bis-sehem ta’ koppji se jwelldu tarbija.
Kor taż-Żgħażagħ, Couples for Christ.
12.00pm: Manifestazzjoni favur il-Ħajja
Diskorsi qosra favur il-Ħajja fl-Oratorju tal-Caravaggio- fil-Kon-Katidral ta’ San Ġwann:-
- Onor. Dr Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Ministru tal-Familja u Solidarjeta Soċjali
- Onor. Claudette Buttiġieġ, Shadow
- Il-Perit Carmel Cacopardo, Alternattiva Demokratika.
Għal iktar informazzjoni jew għar-reġistrazzjoni tistgħu tikkuntattjaw lil Tony Mifsud fuq firstname.lastname@example.org jew fuq 79204840.
Event fuq Facebook
The Health of the Unborn Child
To: Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Valletta.
Wednesday - 16th October, 2013 at Ministry of Health, Valletta
The Malta Unborn Child Movement is a group of organisations which commit themselves to promote the wellbeing of the unborn child by raising awareness about the dignity, rights, protection and development of the unborn child in the Maltese Islands and beyond. The Movement strives to raise awareness:
1. of the unique privilege, enjoyed by both parents as equal partners, in the conception of the unborn child;
2. of the special opportunity for both parents to help the unborn child develop its full potential and its personality, from the moment of conception;
3. of the responsibility of both parents, and of the political, medical, industrial, legal, social, educational and other agents, to protect the unborn child from all physical, mental and emotional harm until born
The Movement focuses on the potential harmful effects of the consumption of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by the parents on the unborn child, and the precarious situation of the pregnant mother, and father, and their unborn child at many places of work in Malta, where the unborn child is considered as vulnerable and "at risk", liable to be born with health and developmental problems or disabilities.
MUCM has worked closely with different Ministries with the aim of highlighting current issues in relation to the wellbeing of the unborn child, including the protection of life of the unborn child; namely legislation and the role of the Family and Society, and the protection of parents and the unborn child at the workplace.
MUCM is now proposing to continue to develop this collaboration with the Health Ministry It is now well studied that societal conditions, including the impact of early development and life conditions, affect the wellbeing of individuals throughout life. Depression, antisocial behaviour, adolescent anxiety, and adolescent hyperactivity are also shown in children who have experienced poverty in early childhood (Allen-Meares, 2005). Yet, social determinants can potentially be altered by social policies and initiatives. The concern here is therefore to address those policies that may have a bearing on the unborn child so that all children born in Malta will have every opportunity to develop into healthy, productive members of society.
The Movement is therefore proposing the following areas of collaboration between the Malta Unborn Child Movement- MUCM - and the Ministry of Health.
1. Following the European Citizens Initiative about the EU Petition on the Unborn Child which is doing the rounds in all the 28 countires of the European Union at the moment the time is ripe that when we talk on children we always talk also on unborn children.
2. The Health Centres throughout Malta are to offer services specifically to pregnant women who use substances that can harm the Unborn Child, and include Smoking Cessation Services, as well as counselling and services for pregnant women who use alcohol and/or illicit drugs.
3. The Movement is proposing that, together with the Ministry, it will spearhead collaboration with all stakeholders to develop a national initiative to counteract binge drinking in general, and targeting young women of child-bearing age in particular. Binge drinking is a relatively new phenomenon and its effects are yet to be felt. The initiative would go beyond raising awareness of the harm of binge drinking, but address the issue holistically.
4. The Foundation for Social Welfare Services - FSWS - already offers excellent services for women with drug and tobacco problems during pregnancy. However, there seems to be a lacuna where women who consume drugs and tobacco on a regular basis but are not problem drug takers or smokers, are concerned. MUCM, FSWS and the Health Ministry can work together on this.
5. The wellbeing and health of the parents and their unborn child from the harmful effects of toxins and chemicals at the place of work should be monitored and protected regularly by the competent authority, including the Health and Safety Authority.
6. ‘Parenting Education’ should be strengthened and should include the unborn child and involve the emotional wellbeing of the unborn child. Parenting Education to start ideally at Parent Craft at Mater Dei Hospital but also reach vulnerable groups through Health Centres across Malta and Gozo, Agenzija ACCESS in many parts of Malta, and the proposed Family Resource Centres.
7. The Ministry of Health, the Malta Unborn Child Movement and other stakeholders will set up u working group to work towards the realisations of these, and other, aims.
8. Lack of local official statistics on the well-being, especially the health and ill-health of unborn children who are affected by the consumption of toxic substances by their parents, and the exposure of same at places of work, is hampering any strategic planning on the prevention of ill-health of about 4000 unborn children annually in Malta and Gozo.
9. The high rate of unnecessary intervention during pregnancy and childbirth is posing a detrimental effect on the mothers; the unborn child; the organization and the nation. In 2012 the NOIS showed that the national caesarean section rate is 35.2%, a far cry from the W.H.O and N.I.C.E. guidelines which state that “there is no justification for any region to have caesarean section rates higher than 10-15%”. Organisations in MUCM are working towards establishing the humanized birth concept in local care practices in an attempt to make childbirth a positive and satisfying experience for both the women and their families.
Sunday, 3rd February 2013
Celebration of Life
by the Malta Unborn Child Movement in Valletta
The Malta Unborn Child Movement is again celebrating Pro-Life Day on Sunday 3rd February, 2013 in Valletta
At 10.00am a delegation from the Malta Unborn Child Movement - MUCM - will pay a courtesy call on His Excellency Dr George Abela, President of the Republic, at the Palace, Valletta.
At 10.30am the Xghajra Scouts and the M’Scala Guides will march from City Gate to the Palace of the President of the Republic. At 10.30 they will be joined by the MUCM delegation visiting the President to hold the pro-life march up to St John’s Cathedral, Valletta.
At 11.00am there will be the Celebration of Life at the Cathedral where His Grace Archbishop Paul Cremona will concelebrate mass with the participation of pregnant women and their families.
At 12.00 noon MUCM will hold the Manifestation in favour of Life by short speeches on the unborn child from MUCM, and guests of MUCM, in the Caravaggio Oratory of St John Cathedral.
Everybody is invited to attend for all the events of Pro-Life Day. Contact email@example.com or phone 7920 4840 for more information.
Building collaboration between the Ministry of Justice, Public Dialogue and the Family (MJDF) and the Malta Unborn Child Movement (MUCM)
Setting up of a joint MJDF – MUCM committee on the Unborn ChildFollowing the National Conference - Quality Life for the Unborn Child - organised by the Malta Unborn Child Movement with the cooperation, and sponsorship, of the Ministry of Justice, Public Dialogue and the Family on 13 October, 2012, the MUCM Memo, shown below, was sent to Dr Chris Said, Minister of Justice, Public Dialogue and the Family. A meeting with Minister Said was held on 4 December, 2012. There was agreement on the setting up of a joint MJDF – MUCM committee on the Unborn Child.
The Way Forward - by MUCM
with contributions from Tony Mifsud, Coordinator MUCM; Marianne Massa, Health Promotion Specialist; and Mary Said Buttigieg, President, Malta Midwives Association.
On the 13th October 2012, the Malta Unborn Child Movement, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, Public Dialogue and the Family, organised a conference with the aim of highlighting current issues in relation to the wellbeing of the unborn child. The conference discussed two themes that concern the protection of life of the unborn child; namely, legislation and the role of the Family and Society, and the protection of parents and the unborn child at the Workplace.
It is now well studied that societal conditions, including the impact of early development, affect the wellbeing of individuals throughout life. As examples, insecure emotional attachment and poor stimulation can lead to reduced readiness for school, low educational attainment, and problem behaviour. Low-birth weight infants have greater likelihood for developing coronary heart disease in late middle age. Yet, social determinants can potentially be altered by social policies and initiatives. The concern here is therefore to address those policies that may have a bearing on the Unborn Child so that every child born in Malta will have every opportunity to develop into healthy, productive members of society.
The Movement is therefore proposing the following areas of collaboration:
1. A situation analysis about the well-being of the unborn child, aided by statistical data gathered at the local level, needs to be carried out to map the reality of the situation in Malta and to inform priority areas that need to be addressed.
2. Further to the laws put in place recently to promote and safeguard the rights of parents and the unborn child, there needs to be identified other legislation that needs to be amended to take into account the wellbeing of both.
3. The W.H.O and N.I.C.E guidelines (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) stated that: "There is no justification for any region to have Caesarean section rates higher than 10-15%. National Obstetric Information System Annual report 2011 indicates that CS rate in Malta is 35.2%. The high rate of unnecessary intervention during pregnancy and childbirth in Malta is posing detrimental effect on the mothers, the unborn child, the organisation and the nation. The Issue that pregnancy is a social event not an illness needs to be addressed from the family perspective.
4. The Ministry and the Movement will spearhead collaboration with all stakeholders to develop a national initiative to counteract binge drinking in general, and targeting young women of child-bearing age in particular. Binge drinking is a relatively new phenomenon and its effects are yet to be felt. The initiative would go beyond raising awareness of the harm of binge drinking, but address the issue holistically.
5. The Foundation for Social Welfare Services already offers excellent services for women with drug and alcohol problems during pregnancy. However, there seems to be a lacuna where women who consume alcohol and tobacco on a regular basis but are not problem drinkers or smokers, are concerned. This particular target group needs to be addressed.
6. The well-being, and the health, of the parents and their unborn children from the harmful effects of toxins and chemicals on the places of work should be monitored and protected regualarly by the competent authorities, especially the Health and Safety Authority.
7. Strengthen ‘Parenting Education’ that is already in place and is run by SEDQA to include the Unborn Child and involve the emotional wellbeing of the Unborn Child. Parenting Education to start ideally at Parent Craft but also reaching vulnerable groups through ACCESS.
8. The National Children’s Policy should make provision also for the good health, sustainable development and well-being of the unborn child. The “Guradian for Future Generations” of the 2012 Law on Sustainable Development can be a very useful aid in this. The Embryo Protection Act, when in force, can also be a useful aid. The womb is, and should be considered in our laws and policies, the first environment to man.
9. There is scope and space for collaborative work on the well-being of the unborn child with the European People Party at the European Level through the Nationalist Party. Similar action can be taken with the Socialist Group at EU level through the Labour Party. The Unborn Child should be considered “the Common Concern of Mankind.”
10. A joint committee is to be set up between the Ministry, relevant stakeholders and the Movement in order to take these and other proposals forward.
11. The committee submits a progress report to the Minister from time to time and meets the Minister periodically to discuss developments.
The National Children’s Policy and the Unborn Child
On the 14th December 2012 a delegation of MUCM met the Mr Frans Borg, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Public Dialogue and the Family. There was agreement that MUCM will submit a paper on the unborn child for consideration by the Joint MJDF-MUCM committee and inclusion in the National Children’s Policy to be published by the MJDF soon.
The MUCM paper on the place of the Unborn Child in the National Children’s Policy was presented by MUCM to the Permanent Secretary at MJDF on 4 January, 2013.
Malta Unborn Child Movement with the cooperation of the Ministry for Justice, Dialogue and the Family
Quality Life for the Unborn ChildSaturday, 13th October, 2012 at 9.00am Dolmen Hotel, Bugibba, MALTA.
Enquiries: Tony Mifsud, Coordinator, Malta Unborn Child Movement - www.unbornchildmalta.org
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Mob: 7920 4840 - Tel: 21-636 027 or 21 220286
Letter by Tony Mifsud Coordinator Mlata Unborn Child Movement - Times of Malta 11-6-2012
EU funds for abortion
The draft EU strategy on the rights of the child, which is being considered at the EU level, does not include any provisions at all about the well-being of the unborn child.
In 2006, the Malta Unborn Child Movement made written submissions to the European Commission on the draft EU strategy on the rights of the child and, in April 2012, elaborated further on this in writing to the European Health Commissioner.
MUCM also met the commissioner about it on April, 13 and stressed the importance that the EU should concern itself also with the life, health and general well-being of the unborn child.
The commissioner told MUCM that the Commission had no “competence” to go into matters pertaining to the unborn child and that MUCM can work on the well-being of the unborn child with NGOs in the EU. On March 27, 2012, the European Dignity Watch published a report that exposed and denounced EU funding of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, the two largest abortion providers in the world. The report uncovered substantial contributions from the EU’s development aid and public health budgets to IPPF and MSI for projects related to “sexual and reproductive health” in contravention of EU law prohibiting support to abortion and sterilisation programmes. The term “sexual and reproductive health” as defined by the EU excludes abortion explicitly.
When, on April 25, 2012, the European Economic and Social Committee opened its debate on the EU cohesion policy for 2014 -2020, EESC president Staffan Nilsson stated: “Citizens’ needs and interests must be at the heart of all Community policies, so it is essential to apply the partnership principle in the EU’s cohesion policy in a way that enables all stakeholders to play a full part.” Surely, the 5.5 million unborn children who are eventually born every year in the EU and all those little children who lost their lives to abortions in the EU form part of these EU stakeholders, even if they cannot, or could not, shout for their rights as others are able to do. The UN 1959 declaration on the rights of the child, in particular in the third paragraph of its preamble, explicitly affirms the unborn child’s inalienable right to life by declaring: “Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”
Similarly, the UN 1989 convention on the rights of the child repeats the unborn child’s inalienable right to life and protection from harm to their bodies.
EU parliamentarians should investigate these matters. Malta’s six MEPs, representing the Nationalist and Labour parties, which are both pro-life and against abortion, should lead in the EU on these matters.
They should join EU parliamentarians Konrad Szymanski, Anna Zaborska, Gay Mitchell, Jan Olbrycht, Nirj Deva and Martin Kastel who organised the Week for Life initiative at the EU Parliament in Brussels last March.
Gift of Life Foundation takes part in Pro-Life Congress organised by the European People's Party in Brussels
Paul Vincent addressing the Congress
Gift of Life Foundation (GoLF), an organisation in the Malta Unborn Child Movement, was invited by the European People's Party (EPP) group through the office of Dr Simon Busuttil, Member of the European Parliament for Malta, to a pro-life congress hosted by MEP Jaime Mayor Oreja, Vice President of the EPP Group. The congress was held on Thursday 29 March 2011. Paul Vincenti attended the congress as President of the Gift of Life Foundation. Also attending the congress was Mr Edric Micallef the President of the university pro-life group, the +9 Studenti,
Malta was given space to deliver a presentation to scores of other European pro-life leaders at the European Parliament in Brussels. In his presentation Mr Vincenti detailed the current situation of human life in Malta. The Maltese delegation promoted the +9 symbol which was developed in Malta and which is now actively being used in over 15 countries by other pro-life groups.
The initiative served also as a platform to initiate a European citizens’ initiative for life under the leadership of Italian MEP Carlo Casini.
TIMES of Malta - Saturday, April 28, 2012 by Tony Mifsud, coordinator of the Malta Unborn Child Movement – MUCM
Role of unborn child advocate.
When writing on the “role of the child advocate” (March 23) Ann Marie Mangion, a family and child lawyer, stated that “a child’s advocate is appointed to represent the interests of any minor children”. She added “the court can appoint a children’s advocate where in its opinion this is required in the interests of any minor children...” Finally she opined that “the court holds that the children’s rights should be paramount and that is how it should be”. She was writring on cases of marital separation in court.
A quantitative nationwide research on domestic violence, commissioned by the Malta Commission on Domestic Violence, revealed this year that three per cent of pregnant women were beaten, punched or kicked in the abdomen and that 30 per cent of abuse cases started in pregnancy. It was also reported that Mater Dei Hospital’s gynaecology department regularly referred cases of domestic violence.
According to Article 2 IX of the Domestic Violence Act of 2006 unborn children in Malta have legal rights for protection from “any” type of domestic violence, as any battered woman.
In 2009 and 2010 it emerged that a total of 129 unborn babies from Malta were aborted... killed... in the UK. Other unborn children, as indicated by The Times leader (April 10), may be ending up with their mothers at the door of some abortion clinic abroad, other than the UK, and perhaps even here in Malta. To the knowledge of the Malta Unborn Child Movement there are no published official statistics showing the extent of the harm done to unborn children by the consumption of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by the parents of the child. Lately Maltese medical experts related extensively on the local media on the harm these substances do to the unborn child.
MUCM is informed that the Health and Safety Authority does not have sufficient human resources to promote the lives and good health of the unborn child on the places of work. Nor to protect the parents and the unborn from the hazardous effects of toxins and chemicals at the same places in spite of the fact that it has been entrusted with the responsibility to do so by the Health and Safety Law of 1996.
It seems we have so far failed “to protect the interests”, life and health of an unborn child in our courts when a mother went there in 2009 for redress alleging that her newborn died a few days after birth because she was exposed to chemical substances on her place of work. This is where Dr Mangion’s insistence that “the term ‘represent’ does not mean the same thing as when the mother and the father engage the services of a lawyer”, becomes more poignant. These concerns were brought to the attention of the Minister for Justice and the Family and the Commissioner for Children when an MUCM delegation met them last month.
Prodded by EU institutions the government this month deployed 100 law enforcement officials to protect the lives of thousands of birds but deployed no unborn child advocate, so far, to defend the lives and health of our unborn children.
Is it not the time that the role of the child advocate is extended also “to represent the interests” of unborn children for protection to their lives and from harm, of any description, to their bodies? Maybe next time Dr Mangion will suggest how the right for a child advocate is extended also to unborn children in Malta and Gozo.
The Attorney General should recommend the introduction of an unborn child advocate to the government.
TIMES of Malta - Saturday, March 31, 2012 by Tony Mifsud, Coordinator of the Malta Unborn Child Movement - MUCM
Correct climate for the unborn.
Speaking on sustainable development in Parliament, former Cabinet minister Jesmond Mugliett called for a culture change on the matter (March 9). Interjecting, Environment Minister Mario de Marco said the Bill before Parliament integrated various governmental entities in ensuring sustainable development and, while the private sector was not included, a guardian for future generations was being introduced.
Continuing, Mr Mugliett retorted that one still did not know how the guardian for future generations would work. He added that though “... Malta could not change the climate, it still had to do its part”. “A focused agency should be introduced,” he said “and all sectors of society should work for sustainable development.”
Carmel Cacopardo, the spokesman on sustainable development for Alternattiva Demokratika, the green party, said in an article entitled A Green Agenda: Future Generations Must Be Heard (August 27, 2011) that “the guardian of future generations would be the voice of those still unborn to defend their right to make their own choices, independently of the choices of present and past generations”.
Parliament should consider the sustainable development of the unborn children when still in the womb – 4,000 of them every year in Malta and Gozo – besides that of future generations not yet conceived. Unborn children in the womb cannot “defend their rights to make their own choices”.
The development of the unborn child in the womb cannot be normal, not sustainable at all, if and when the parents consume drugs, alcohol and tobacco immediately before and/or during the pregnancy.
The TV chat show Bondì+ tackled the issue of the unborn child last December 22 (www.di-ve.com). The programme opened with Lou Bondi declaring that the year before 11 newborns were put on methadone because the parents were taking drugs before or during the pregnancy.
Similarly, the development of the unborn child in the womb cannot be normal, nor sustainable, if the parents are exposed to toxic and chemical substances at their place of work.
In 2009, we had a mother who went to court alleging that her newborn baby died because she was exposed to chemicals at her place of work.
Apparently, the court case had the same fate of the newborn! Too bad for defining and defending the rights, health and lives of unborn children. Something seems to have gone wrong somewhere.
On June 28, 2010, the International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine (ISPPM) declared that “it is devoted to the initial phase of human development – prenatal and perinatal life”.
The society considers this earliest stage of life as the first ecological position of the human being and the womb as its first ecological environment. It perceives pregnancy to be a period of active and continuous dialogue between the prenatal child, the mother and her psycho-social environment. From a holistic view, human life is recognised as an indivisible entity and continuum of all human functions, both physical and psychological, in which no division between “body” and “mind” can be made.
Parliament should clearly define the special role the guardian for future generations would play for the unborn child in the womb when the concept is introduced in the law on sustainable development.
The health and safety law of 1996, the Domestic Violence Law of 2006, the Commissioner for Children, Aġenzija Appoġġ of the Foundation of Social Welfare Services and the Malta Unborn Child Movement can help Parliament chart the best possible protection for the sustainable development of the unborn child in the womb in the Maltese islands.
Mr Mugliett said that Malta could not change the climate. His suggestion for the setting up of a “focused agency” in which all sectors of society would work together for sustainable develop-ment can definitely change the negative climate in the womb for the unborn child into a positive one. This can be by the coordinated action of all the various government and other entities, perhaps brought together in such focused agency, that will be committed to bring about the wholesome and sustainable developoment of the unborn child in the Maltese islands, as also indicated by ISPPM.
Businesses still not breastfeed friendly
Times of Malta report on the Conference on Family-Work Balance and Parenting organised by the Malta Unborn Child Movement, the Swedish Embassy in Malta, the Midwifery Department of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Malta, and the Malta Council of Women on November 11, 2011 at the Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana, MALTA.
Employers have to become more flexible with workers and allow them to work from home, a conference on work-family balance heard.
Employers should have a more flexible approach towards working hours to allow their staff to better balance their time between the office and their family’s needs, Malta Employers’ Association director Joseph Farrugia said.
Research carried out by the association, he said, showed employers were upholding some 85 per cent of requests for family-friendly measures. However, there was room for improvement and employers had to move away from the rigid nine-to-five day and be more flexible. Mr Farrugia was speaking during a conference entitled Work-Family Balance and Parenting. The conference brought together unions, employer and employee representatives and other organisations to debate the issue of maintaining a work-life balance in today’s busy world.
A recent study, published by flexible workplace provider Regus, showed that the majority of Maltese employees worked well over eight hours a day, with two in every five regularly taking work home.
The conference covered several issues ranging from flexible working hours and conditions to the sharing of household and parental responsibilities.
Rita Borg Xuereb, head of the University’s Midwifery Department, gave an overview of her PhD research that looked into work-family balance, among other things.
As part of her research, that involved interviews with 221 couples between 2005 and 2008, she found that men were highly supportive during pregnancy, almost sharing household tasks equally. However, things changed after the woman gave birth when the support decreased. “Nevertheless, Maltese men have moved away from the completely traditional division of household tasks and are more supportive with regard to household tasks but do not share equally as one would expect in a dual earner household,” Dr Borg Xuereb said. She found that women still took on the load of household and parental responsibilities even if they worked.
This highlighted the need to work on gender stereotyping and the need for equal sharing of parental responsibilities between both genders.
Jean-Pierre Farrugia, the Nationalist MP who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Family Affairs, raised the issue of maternity leave, saying that last year in the public sector, 581 mothers benefited from the 14-week period allowed.
Speaking before it was revealed by The Sunday Times yesterday that this was to be increased to 20 weeks in today’s budget, he noted that Malta and the UK have the lowest full-rate paid maternity and paternity leave in the EU in terms of the number of weeks. Edwin Balzan, from the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin, spoke about the need to have a national policy aimed at strengthening the family. He stressed on the importance of introducing more remote working opportunities that allowed parents to work from home.
Louise Bugeja, from Parent Craft, a service offered to expectant parents at Mater Dei Hospital, said businesses were still not “breastfeeding-friendly” and did not allow employees time to breastfeed their baby.
Over recent years, he said, the government introduced various measures such as flexitime and tax incentives to encourage mothers to work.
The conference, held at the Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana, was organised by the Malta Unborn Child Movement, the Midwifery Department, the National Council of Women and the Swedish Embassy in Malta
EU Parliament Policy Debate
Protecting the unborn baby from alcohol
7 September 2011, European Parliament, Brussel
The Malta Unborn Child Movement - MUCM - was represented in the policy debate in the European Parliament in Brussels by Ms Grace Attard, President of the Malta National Council of Women, an organisation in MUCM. Ms Attard attended as a member of the European Economic & Social Committee representing Malta.
Programme and presentations
12:30 Welcome by MEP Elzbieta Lukacijewska
12:40 Mr Adam Fronczak, Ministry for Health, Undersecretary of State, Poland
Setting the scene
12:55 Risks associated with Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol, Martha Krijgsheld, chair of FAS Foundation of the Netherlands ( Power Point )
13:10 FASD children and their families: therapeutic dilemmas, Malgorzata Klecka, Poland (Presentation in English and Polish )
13:20 Measuring the problem in Europe, Dr Lars Moller, WHO Europe ( Power Point )
13:35 Labelling: A legal obligation with a positive impact, Maitre Benoit Titran ( Power Point )
13:45 Recommendations for effective Health warning messages, Mariann Skar, Eurocare ( Power Point )
13:55 What could be done at the European level? Diane Black, EUFASD ( Power Point )
14:10 Way forward at EU level, Keynote speaker: Mr John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection ( Commissioner's speech )
14:55 Closing remarks
Presentations are available here: click below 1 & 2
1. Report (Click Here)
2. View pictures from the event by going to:
Coordinator, Malta Unborn Child Movement
Mob: 7920 4840
Alternative Solutions to Abortion
Ms Grace Attard from Malta, member of the European Economic & Social Committee (EESC) of the European Union, calls for alternative solutions to abortion.
From the records of EESC
Speaking during the debate on the family in relation to demographic change, Grace Attard expressed her disappointment at the lack of reference to the unborn child, in the debate. What alternative solutions to abortion are we offering mothers who are experiencing difficulties during pregnancy, including better services to be in a better position to make choices. The opinion, which was specifically requested by the Hungarian Presidency, attracted the attention of a large number of EESC members during the debate which took place during the May Plenary session of the EESC
Grace Attard also questioned whether any research has been carried out regarding the health risks for the unborn child during pregnancy, resulting from lack of healthy lifesyles and the health risks at the workplace that could result in children being born with disabilities or much worse in premature death.
In reply, the rapporteur general stated that this was an important issue. There is the need to address the dramatic experiences of these women, understanding their situation and offering alternative practical choices
Ms. Grace Attard is the President of the Malta National Council of Women and member of the Core Group of the Malta Unborn Child Movement.
The Malta Unborn Child Movement - MUCM - and the Swedish Embassy in Malta.
Seminar - Caring for the Unborn Child
Friday, 10th December, 2010 at the Auditorium, Mater Dei Hospital, MALTA
The Malta Unborn Child Movement and the Swedish Embassy in Malta, in collaboration with the Department of Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta and the Malta Midwives Association organised the Seminar - Caring for the Unborn Child at the Auditorium of Mater Dei Hospital, on 10th December, 2010. The National Council of Women, Agenzija Sedqa of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, the Malta Midwives Association, Caritas Malta, the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Department, the Union Haddiema Maghqudin and the Social Assiatance Secretariat of Catholic Action, member organisations in the Malta Unborn Child Movement, were the main promoters of the Seminar.
Ms Grace Attard, President, National Council of Women and Member of the European Economic and Social Committee was Chairperson of the seminar. She opened the discussion by emphasising the importance of addressing all types of famlies which all have their particular needs.
In his welcome address Tony Mifsud, Coordinator of the Malta Unborn Children Movement stated that the British press reported that lately at least 600 Scottish babies a year were judged to be at risk of abuse before they are even born..and that official figures revealed that 331 unborn babies were placed on the official child protection register, many of them because of their mother's drink or drug problem. He added that research had revealed that babies in the womb were being exposed to cocktails of toxic chemical and that their blood was swimming with dangerous compounds found in everyday household cleaners, perfumes and even pans and furniture. This, he insisted, is affecting the climate for the unborn child in the womb.
Mr Mifsud suggested that an opportunity is arising for Malta to take the initiatve in the workings of international bodies and initiatives dedicated to the welfare of children to proclaim before all the member states of the EU, and the world community, that "all men are created equal" and that all unborn children, 200 million every year world-wide, including 4000 in Malta - the common beginners in all mankind, and "created equal" everywhere - should be considered the "common concern of all mankind" and that their dignity, rights, protection, care and development should be the common moral, legal and political responsibility of the world community.... in word... on paper ...and in deed... everywhere.
In her welcome speech, H.E. Ulla Gudmundson, Ambassador of Sweden to Malta. expressed her keen interest working on this issue in Malta. On a very positve note she stated that we all need to work together on issues that are similar in Malta and Sweden, but that needs to be addresssed in the context of the different cultures, not least where traditional alcohol intake is one of the problems.
Hon Dr Peter Micallef, Parliamentary Assistant at the Ministry of Health, who addressed the Seminar gave a holistic overview of ethics reagrding the rights of the unborn child from the moment of coneption. He also spoke about preparations for both father and mother when they are expecting a child; and preventive measures for pregnant mothers, especially those in vulnerable situations of substance abuse, smoking and alcohol abuse.
Ms Eva Karin Envall, Project Director Swedish National Institute for Public Health, Sweden gave a presentation of an evidence-based project that she had beeen working on for the past 7 years, together with her personal experience on Ante-Natal Care, Child Health Services and Alcohol and Drugs during Pregnancy − as a Matter of Public Health.
Particpants, included a wide range of medical practioners, service providers, Ph.D students who are carrying out reserach on related topics, as well as non-gvernamental organisations. They spoke about their experience, unfolding several aspects linked to the well-being of the unborn child, These included planning a preganacy, workplace legislation and enforcement on alchohol abuse and substance abuse, how to deal with difficulties drug starters come across as well as hardened abusers, the different types of drugs and current stastitics on abuse by sex and age groups. They considered also the social and economic consequences of substance abuse, adequate support sturctures, the role of the media in advertising and the strong lobbies of ahcohol companies, among others. The importance of appropriate education at all levels was also emphasised. Most revealing was the situation of pregnant inmates who are serving a prison sentence. The conditions of mothers living with their children of various ages was one of the most areas of deep concern, in particular the negaative psychological, mental and social consequences for children later on in life.
During a short discussion on "What can be done ar EU level?" Ambassador Ulla Gudmodson and Chairperson Grace Attard outlined several initiatives that the EU Commssion is taking in particular with regards to The Rights of the Child, reducing alcohol related harm, child poverty and children's wellbeing, maternity leave, breasteeding, and work/life balance.
The closing address by Dr Rita Borg Xuereb Ph.D. Head, Department of Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, based on a study she carried lately revealed some very useful findings on the fertility rate in Malta, fathers' attitudes to the unborn child, single parenthood, enotional wellbeing, and work-life balance. Referring to the increased awareness of the need to care for the environment, Dr Borg Xuereb ended her presentation with a very significant statement − "If there is one thing that we can change within our limits is the way we care for the unborn child".
A new photo in the photo section
Seminar - Caring for the Unborn Child 10-12-2011 by Malta Unborn Child Moveme- MUCM - and the Swedish Embassy in Malta at Auditorium, Mater Dei Hospital, Malta - The Swedish Ambassador, Ulla Gudmundson (sitting, second from right) with the Core Group of MUCM.
The Malta Unborn Child Movement - MUCM - met the Swedish Ambassador to Malta, Ms Ulla Gudmundson, at the Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana, Malta on Monday 5th October 2009. to pass on an MUCM message to the Swedish EU Presidency.
Text of MUCM's message to the Swedish EU Presidency
Following the publication in the Times of Malta of MUCM letters (see attached printed copies) to the Swedish EU Presidency and the Malta Government and the two Seminars by the Swedish Ambassador to Malta and the Malta Government on Climate Change at the Phoenicia Hotel, Malta, MUCM meets the Swedish Ambassador to Malta, Ms Ulla Gudmundson, at the Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana, Malta on Monday 5th October 2009 at 11.45am to request her, graciously, to pass on its recommendations to the Swedish EU Presidency
From letters by MUCM in The Times of Malta: ...the Malta Unborn Child Movement - MUCM - made up of 45 Maltese organisations, is proposing that, within the context of the priorities assigned to the environment and climate change by the Swedish Presidency, climate change will include also climate change in the womb as "the common concern of mankind". That is, how climate change affects also the wholesome and sustainable development of about 200 million unborn children, every year, in the European Union and worldwide. "Climate change" is doing as much harm to unborn children as it is doing to those who are born.
In her book "Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations" Dr. Laura Westra, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Windsor, states: Quote: ìThe traditional concept of social justice is increasingly being challenged by the notion of a humankind that spans current and future generations.î Her book has been described as "the systematic examination of how the rights of the unborn and future generations are handled in common law and under international legal instruments."
A dimension of man's relationship to his environment is implied in the concept "the common concern of mankind." While covering directly climate change in general, it focuses also on issues that are generally basic to mankind, like climate change also in the womb. This, through the inadvertent exposure to toxic substances and emissions of would-be mothers and fathers especially at places of work and the world in general. Also, through the inconsiderate consumption of drugs, alcohol and tobocco before and/or during pregnancy, and the lack of love for and rejection of unborn children by their parents - which also conditions the affective development of unborn and born children - manifested by parents in a variety of ways during the pregnancy. The concept "the common concern of mankind" arose out of the UN deleberations on Malta's proposal on climate change.
In her book Environmental Justice And The Rights Of Unborn And Future Generations, Laura Westra, professor of philosophy at the University of Windsor, states: "The traditional concept of social justice is increasingly being challenged by the notion of a humankind that spans current and future generations".
"Her book has been described as "the systematic examination of how the rights of the unborn and future generations are handled in common law and under international legal instruments".
A dimension of man's relationship to his environment is implied in the concept "the common concern of mankind". While covering directly climate change in general, it focuses also on issues that are generally basic to mankind, like climate change also in the womb. This through inadvertent exposure to toxic substances and emissions of would-be mothers and fathers, especially at places of work and the world in general. Also through the inconsiderate consumption of drugs, alcohol and tobacco before and/or during pregnancy and the lack of love for and rejection of unborn children by their parents, which also conditions the affective development of un/born children, manifested by parents in a variety of ways during the pregnancy. The concept of "the common concern of mankind" arose from the UN deliberations on Malta's proposal on climate change.
Please see: http://www.ewg.org/kid-safe-chemicals-act-blog/kid-safe-chemicals-act/ - Chemicals and Unborn Children
This within the context of Malta's pledge "... to continue to actively support the protection of the basic human rights of children in the world particularly as laid out in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child" and that "Malta will continue to support international actions and policies that respect the rights of the unborn child and foster the best interests of children." See website: Malta Ministry of Foreign and EU Affairs
MUCM also made a specific proposal to the Swedish Ambassador for consideration by the EU Swedish Presidency
Text of the proposal:
The Malta Unborn Child Movement to the EU Swedish Presidency, through the Swedish Ambassador to Malta, Ms Ulla Gudmundson.
- The Swedish Ambassador to Malta, or her representative,
- A representative of the Maltese government working on Maltaís climate change proposal to the United Nations,
- A representative of the Malta Unborn Child Movement,
form a task group, within the coming weeks, to work on concrete recommendations to the Swedish, and successive EU Presidencies, so that within, and following, the sterling work initiated by the Swedish EU Presidency on Climate Change, the EU, as "a global actor", includes climate change also in the womb and works for the protection from harm, and the "sustainable development" and general well-being, of the 200 million unborn children, every year, in the EU and the world, and future generations.
Malta Unborn Child Movement
Mob 7920 4840
Tel 21-636 027
MUCM Core Group
Malta Midwives Association - Health Promotion Department
Social Assistance Secretariat - National Council of Women