Two Labour MPs lend their support as protesters gather in front of courts
September 30, 2023
Pro-choice activists gathered in Valletta on Saturday, calling for the decriminalisation of abortion and the provision of abortion services in the healthcare system.
Holding banners reading 'pro-mother, pro-choice', the protesters chanted slogans such "not the church, not the state... women will decide their fate".
The manifestation comes two months after Malta changed its abortion laws for the first time, allowing doctors to terminate a pregnancy if a woman's life is at immediate risk or her health is in "grave jeopardy which may lead to her death".
Labour insiders say abortion bill was badly handled 'from beginning to end'
July 2, 2023
Daniel Ellul, Mark Laurence Zammit
Several Labour MPs have expressed concern after the government backed down and amended the so-called 'abortion bill' even though they voted in its favour on Wednesday.
Bill 28 was unanimously approved in parliament, with no one calling a division (individual counting of votes).
The prime minister described the vote as a 'historic day', but several MPs in Labour's liberal wing are far less excited.
BY KEVIN SCHEMBRI ORLAND, ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 28, 2023
VALLETTA, Malta — Maltese lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to ease the strictest abortion laws in the European Union, but pro-choice campaigners had withdrawn their support, saying last-minute changes make the legislation “vague, unworkable and even dangerous.”
The original bill allowing women access to abortion if a pregnant woman’s life or health is in danger was hailed as a step in the right direction for Malta, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation. It was introduced last fall after an American tourist who miscarried had to be airlifted off the Mediterranean island nation to be treated.
By Alice Taylor Jun 26, 2023
The Maltese government toning down changes to the country’s abortion laws has sparked disappointment among local activists who have campaigned for change after one woman was denied life-saving care and had to be medically evacuated, and another was charged for procuring a medical abortion.
Malta, a Catholic country in southern Europe, is home to the bloc’s most draconian abortion laws. Currently, abortion is illegal in all circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest and where the mother’s life is in danger. Additionally, no medical procedure can be performed, which may risk the foetus dying, even if it is to save the life of the mother.
June 23, 2023
VALLETTA, June 23 (Reuters) - Malta's government on Friday backed down on a bill which would have allowed the abortion of pregnancies when the mother's health was at serious risk, saying instead that terminations would only be allowed when the mother's life was in danger.
Malta is the only country in the European Union which does not allow any form of termination, and the original bill had raised a storm of protest, with anti-abortion campaigners saying the definition of what constituted a health risk was too wide.
While fully recognising the government’s attempt to bring some sanity to Malta’s strict anti-abortion law, we urge the Prime Minister to move beyond discomfort. Politicians cannot be ‘uncomfortably numb’ to the pain, fear and stigmatisation Maltese women must endure because abortion remains a criminal act
11 June 2023
Robert Abela is arguably the first Maltese Prime Minister to openly speak about the realities of abortion from the woman’s perspective, and to push for a change in legislation.
Meek though government’s attempt may be, to decriminalise abortion in two very limited circumstances – if a woman’s life is in danger, or her health is in grave jeopardy – it has to be recognised for what it is; a bold attempt to change Malta’s draconian anti-abortion law.
By Alice Taylor and Spiros Sideris | EURACTIV.com and EURACTIV.gr
Jun 6, 2023
The arrest of a Maltese woman for having a medical abortion at home has divided Maltese society, with pro-choice groups calling for urgent changes to the law and staging protests, and the prime minister declaring it makes him feel ‘uncomfortable’.
Malta has a total ban on abortions, even in the case of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger. The unnamed woman reportedly took abortion pills, likely imported from abroad as they are illegal in the country, and had a medical abortion. She was subsequently arrested and given a conditional discharge.
Pro-choice groups condemn rare enforcement of country’s total ban on terminations
Agence France-Presse in Rome
Thu 1 Jun 2023
A woman in Malta has been charged in court for having an abortion, in a rare enforcement of the country’s total ban on terminations.
The Women’s Rights Foundation of Malta said: “What should have never happened [has] happened today: a Maltese woman was brought to court facing charges of having a medical abortion at home.”
Its legal team had helped the unnamed woman throughout the proceedings, it said, “and she was let go with a conditional discharge”, without giving further details.
As US states and nations such as Poland move towards restricting access to abortions, parts of Europe are seen as something of a safe haven for those looking to terminate pregnancies. However, a look at legislation across the continent shows vast discrepancies and how – even if the procedure is often legal – access to abortion is restricted by hurdles ranging from mandatory counselling to a lack of doctors willing to perform the procedure.
More than 95% of women in Europe live in countries that allow some access to abortion. Some 39 European countries have legalised abortion on request, albeit with some restrictions. Six countries have strict limits in place although only three (Andorra, Malta and San Marino) do not allow abortion at all.
Voice for Choice says Bill 28 that decriminalises abortion if a woman’s life or health is at risk should pass as is, warning that any other legal obligations placed on doctors will be of no clinical benefit to the patient
16 January 2023
by Kurt Sansone
Suggested changes to the Bill decriminalising abortion if a woman’s life or health is in danger risk putting up barriers to treatment, a pro-choice coalition has warned.
Voice for Choice said it was concerned over the changes being suggested to Bill 28 by the government in the face of public backlash.