Priest to pregnant teen: "Deliver in Gozo and give baby for adoption"


Owen Galea

Sat, 27 October 2007

A Maltese woman explains that when she was just 17, a priest advised her to travel to Gozo to give birth to her baby there, and then give it up for adoption, “to avoid tormenting your future.”
The revelation was made in an affidavit the woman recently presented in court as part of her request to have her marriage to a Greek man annulled. The married woman, now 50, says that two months after meeting her 19-year old Greek boyfriend, she got pregnant. She kept her pregnancy a secret, and sought the advice of a local priest. It was here that she was advised to go to Gozo, away from all those who knew her in Malta, and secretly give birth to the baby there to give it up for adoption.  

But she ignored the priest’s advice, married her boyfriend, and went to live with him in Greece, without even telling her parents that she was pregnant. Here she discovered that her husband was not ready for married life, explaining that he got very jealous of her and often beat her severely. At the same time, she realised he had several relationships with other women. Whenever any of the women he dated got pregnant, he forced them to have an abortion, she states in her declaration.

Almost 20 years after getting married, in 1992, when the couple had four children, the Maltese woman returned to Malta. She says that she had to do this as her husband used her name to borrow money, and got her into large debts. Since then, her husband never contacted her again, but one of her children still living in Greece informed her that he is now living with another woman, with whom he had another child.
The court asked her whether she ever tried to use contraceptives to avoid getting pregnant, as she herself insisted that neither she nor her husband ever wanted to have kids. She replied that for five years she managed to avoid getting pregnant, but then “the kids came… what could I do? Abortion is legal there [in Greece] but I never had the courage.”
But the woman’s story failed to convince the court to declare her marriage annulled. The final ruling stated that it was clear that when the woman decided to get married, she was not psychologically unstable, or in any way unable to decide freely. The fact that the couple lived together for 20 years and had four children contradicts the woman’s claim that when she accepted to get married she did not recognise her matrimonial obligations. The marriage is thus legally valid, the court concluded.
More on this story in this Sunday’s edition of ‘Kullhadd’, available at all newsagents in Malta and Gozo.

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