The last taboo: Malta is the last EU country to have a full ban on abortion
Pro-choice activists will struggle to overturn it
Jul 27th 2019
POPE PIUS XI, who died in 1939, described Malta as “Malta Cattolicissima”. Today, that is not quite as true as it once was. The first schism with Catholic doctrine came in 2011, when divorce was legalised after a bitterly fought referendum. For the past four years, Malta has retained its top spot in ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Index, a ranking of policy towards LGBT people in 49 European countries. Same-sex couples now have equal marriage and adoption rights.
Yet Malta remains the only European Union member state which bans abortion in all circumstances. Under a law dating to 1724, women who procure an abortion in Malta risk being imprisoned for up to three years. The second-most-stringent EU country, Poland, allows abortion in very limited circumstances (as does Northern Ireland, which is even stricter, though a law passed in Westminster earlier this month could change that).