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approved legislation to ease the strictest abortion laws in the European Union, but pro-choice campaigners had withdrawn their support, saying last-minute changes make the legislation “vague, unworkable and even dangerous.”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.
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.
Malta’s blanket abortion ban has been questioned many times in the past... but 2022 saw its most serious challenge yet
Jan 1, 2023
Abortion: a word that is guaranteed to spark a tense debate. Throughout the years, Malta has been nudged into considering its introduction but has held firm against. In 2013, the International Commission of Jurists told the UN that Malta’s blanket ban on abortion puts women at risk of torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. Nothing happened.
Three years later, the UNs Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended the decriminalisation of abortion “in all circumstances”, urging the government to ensure adolescent girls have “access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services”. Several international appeals persisted, including from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. Nothing happened.
It was once a taboo subject in the political arena but 2022 saw abortion making it to the parliamentary agenda as Malta was cast in the international spotlight over its draconian anti-abortion law. Maya Dimitrijevic outlines the trajectory of the abortion debate
26 December 2022
by Maya Dimitrijevic
The tone for the abortion debate in 2022 was set early when Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola signed the Simone Veil Pact just after becoming tEuropean parliament president.
The pact calls on signatories to preserve, promote and strengthen women’s rights at European, national and local level. It explicitly calls for guaranteed access to contraception and abortion.
Doctors for Choice say 424 pills were sent to Malta, up from 356 in 2021
December 26, 2022
A record number of abortion pills - 424- were sent to Malta this year, the pro-choice organisation Doctors for Choice claimed on Monday. The organisation said 356 pills were sent in 2021.
“As an abortion rights organisation based in Malta, we consider the increase in abortion pill packs sent to Malta by reputable online telemedicine providers to be a positive thing,” Doctors for Choice said in a statement.
It should come as no real surprise that opponents of this bill have consistently distorted these facts
11 December 2022
Abortion is, by definition, already a sensitive and emotive topic in itself. But the debate surrounding this issue has so far served only to intensify all the emotions: without bringing any clarity (or, even less, rationality) to the discussion.
A case in point is the Opposition’s insistence that – by presenting a bill to amend Malta’s abortion law, in the wake of the Andrea Prudente incident last summer – the government is ‘hell-bent on introducing abortion, at all costs’.
Robert Abela invokes the ghosts of reforms past, from divorce to marriage equality, in his defence of abortion legislation
4 December 2022
by Nicole Meilak
Women’s health is non-negotiable, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday, as he recalled past reforms on civil liberties to defend government’s next reform on abortion legislation.
During a political activity in Fgura on Sunday, Abela listed through several reforms that the Nationalist Party campaigned against over the years.