Climate action for the unborn 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994. The first Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Berlin, Germany in 1995. 

On December 13, 2023, in Dubai, COP28 closed with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era. In a demonstration of global solidarity, negotiators from nearly 200 parties came together to increase climate action before the end of the decade – with the overarching aim to keep the global temperature limit of 1.5°C within reach.

In January 2005, the Malta Unborn Child Platform – MUCP, which started in 1999, began speaking and writing on climate change in the womb and how this affects the lives of about 200 million unborn children every year globally, including about 4,000 unborn children in Malta.

Between 2003 and 2012, the MUCP organised 10 national conferences on the dignity, rights, protection and development of the unborn child. In 2007, it published a charter with the same themes. 

Between 2020 and 2022, the MUCP held 19 video conferences online in a broad discussion with the Maltese public on the well-being of unborn children. 

From 2005 to the present day, the MUCP published articles in the press, especially Times of Malta, on climate change and the unborn child, climate change in the womb, climate change initiatives and the unborn, correct climate for the unborn, green pregnancies, pre-polluted babies, embryo freezing, healthy lifestyles for childless couples, sustainable development and the unborn child, the environment and the unborn, environmental justice and womb ecology in world ecology.

Going through Google’s list of articles and studies on climate change and unborn children on the internet, ‘Climate change in the womb’ by MUCP, published in Times of Malta on July 16, 2009, appears to be one of the first articles on the subject. 

‘Climate change and the unborn child’, published again in Times of Malta on December 9, 2009, is the next oldest MUCP article on the Google list.

There is now many other articles on the same subject, the big majority of which were published from 2020.

‘Climate Change and the health of pregnant women’, published in May 2016 by the American Public Health Association, appears to be the next oldest article on the subject on the Google list.

The MUCP published articles on climate change and unborn children, especially in Times of Malta also in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and in 2017, when it presented a proposal to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the two party whips to hold a national conference on womb ecology with the three political parties which all declared to be pro-life at that time.

The MUCP continued to encourage Malta’s highest institutions to widen the meaning of the concept of the environment to also include the first environment to man, the mother’s womb. The petri dish – in connection with in vitro fertilisation – should also be included. The MUCP also suggested that Malta’s political parties should start including womb ecology in their electoral manifestos to eventually have a national policy on womb ecology.

Political parties should include womb ecology in their electoral manifestos– Tony Mifsud

For this purpose, the MUCP established very useful contacts with the International Society for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine in Germany and with the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health in the US. It had already planned to bring to Malta Canadian Thomas Verny, a psychiatrist and family therapist, who is the founder of the two international organisations. Verny was the first to coin the words womb ecology in world ecology. In 1981, he published the book The Secret Life of the Unborn Child.

The titles of the many other articles on climate change and unborn children on the Google list show that, during the last couple of years, especially since 2020, the international community started paying much more attention to the harmful effects of climate change also on unborn children. Probably, this happened because of the great advances made in the study of the harmful effects of climate change on earth.

Global climate action for unborn children has arrived. In the US, early human life had been deliberately killed in the womb by abortion, surgically or medically, for the last 50 years. In 2022, in a historic and far-reaching decision, the US Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion no longer exists. 

This did not mean that the killings of unborn children in the US stopped. But the political and societal climate for abortion has started changing. In fact, since then, 21 states banned abortion or restricted the procedure earlier in pregnancy.

In Malta, though, the attention on the effects of climate change on unborn children seems to be far away.

To fight climate change, Malta adopted a National Renewable Energy Action Plan, whereby renewable energy options are currently focused on onshore and offshore wind energy, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy as well as energy from waste.

However, while Malta has always been known to be in favour of human life from conception, it seemed to have started reversing its stance.

Last year, political leaders, not the Maltese people, surreptitiously almost introduced legislation in favour of abortion. This was reversed after massive street protests. 

The MUCP still aims to see Malta become a ‘Centre for Womb Ecology’ in the Mediterranean. In 2010, it attempted to begin this journey with the University of Malta but the climate there, at that time, appeared not to be receptive to this possibility. There are now signs that this venture is becoming possible and probable.

In a demonstration of global solidarity, the international community and Malta should widen ‘climate action’ to protect unborn children. 

Tony Mifsud is the coordinator of the Malta Unborn Child Platform.

Source: Times of Malta