Setting the record straight on the Constitution

I remember it like it was yesterday. During my first lectures in constitutional law I was constantly brain-washed with the following mantra:

The Constitution of a state is the basic system of laws, customs and conventions which define (build) the composition and powers of organs of the state, and regulate the relations of the various state organs to one another and to the private citizen
 Yes, the Constitution is also that legal document in which the most basic fundamental human rights and freedoms are made law. The Constitution is not, however, a mere complaint report in which to file a grievance which may or may not happen in the future. Neither is it a green card in which fundamentalists can legalize their moralistic obsessions at will. This is what a certain radical group of anti-abortionists are setting out to do in a bid to ban abortion permanently through the Constitution. That abortion is a criminal offence, punishable by up to three years imprisonment is not enough.

Abortion is for the greater part, a moral issue. You either believe that the embryo is a human being biologically, morally and legally or that it is simply a mass of cells. But this issue has got nothing to do with being pro-life or pro-choice. That is but an an unending philosophical debate. The issue here is that it would set a dangerous precedent to impose one's purely personal moral beliefs into the Constitution and forever bind future generations due to the Constitution's rigidity. On the other side of the coin, it is equally idiotic, in my opinion to give women the right to terminate their pregnancy through the Constitution. The Constitution is not the place for this.


But isn't this an illogical statement given the fact that most fundamental rights, such as the right to life and the right to a fair trial can be called moral issues? I think not. I believe that certain rights are inherently, logically and objectively necessary in order to sustain a democracy. The right to life, i.e. the right of living persons to literally continue living without interference by the State unless by Court sentence (although capital punishment is outlawed in Malta) is absolutely necessary for democracy. I do not see how banning abortions is absolutely necessary for democracy to function. And that is what the Constitution really is. It is a legal framework which sets up the most basic political status of the state, its organs, their functions and how they relate to one another and the private citizen.

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2 Responses to Setting the record straight on the Constitution

Fabrizio said...

if abortion is granted in every state of the e.u. and in Malta not. Does not that qualify as social discrimination?

Fausto Majistral said...

So wouldn't you say, for the same reasons, that the 1987 amendments to the Constitution regarding neutrality and non-alignment are equally out of place in the same document?

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