PRESS RELEASE: Two years of helping people in Malta access abortions


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12 February 2021

 

Two years of helping people in Malta access abortions

Voice for Choice, FPAS, Doctors for Choice, Women’s Rights Foundation and Abortion Support Network see some progress, push for change.

 

For two years, prochoice groups have been working to ensure that anyone who is pregnant is able to access factual, unbiased information about all pregnancy options, and, if desired and required, obtain support and funding to access a safe abortion at home with pills or abroad in a clinic.

 

Mara Clarke of Abortion Support Network (ASN) said:

 

“ASN expanded our services to Malta on 14 February 2019. Since then, more than 200 people have contacted us for information about abortion clinics, reputable online providers of medical abortion pills, funding to help with the costs of abortion and travel, and logistical support. We helped 75 people in 2019 and 126 people in 2020. The increase was likely due to an increased awareness of ASN and the help we provide and the added pressure Covid-19 placed on people in Malta with unintended or non-viable pregnancies.”

 

Dr Lara Dimitrijevic of Women’s Rights Foundation said:

 

“We launched Malta’s first ever prochoice coalition in March 2019 and spent the past two years campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion and for laws that bring Malta’s abortion laws in line with international human rights standards. We were pleased to see October’s study by statistician Vincent Marmara showing that 18.1% of people would be in favour of the introduction of abortion in Malta. This is a ten percent increase over the previous year, with even higher numbers of younger people in favour of abortion law liberalisation. Change is happening.”

 

Professor Isabel Stabile of Doctors for Choice said:

 

“When ASN first opened to Malta, they had to signpost anyone who wanted factual pregnancy options counselling to a service in the UK. However, the Family Planning Advisory Service (FPAS) launched on 1 August 2020, giving people of Malta a Maltese pregnancy options service. In our first six months, FPAS was contacted by 203 people who sought advice on reproductive options. Additional queries were about assisted reproductive technology including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. It is a shame that people in Malta continue to be deprived of access to essential reproductive healthcare. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for the time dedicated to help people in Malta who are neglected and denied their rights by the state.”

 

All of these groups have pledged to do whatever they can to ensure that anyone in Malta who wants an abortion is ale to access one safely, to provide any pregnant person unsure of what to do with all possible options (parenting, adoption, abortion), to signpost people to information about IVF and peri-natal testing, to present the facts about abortion and the people who need abortions, and to do their best to work to make it so that people in Malta are able to access the full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare available, in Malta and without fear of judgement or criminal prosecution.

 

ENDS

 

CONTACT

 

Abortion Support Network: Mara Clarke, Founder, [email protected], +44 (0) 7913 353 530

 

Doctors for Choice: Prof Isabel Stabile, Secretary, [email protected], +356 27780737

 

Women’s Rights Foundation: Dr Lara Dimitrijevic, Spokesperson, [email protected], +356 (0) 79708 615

 

Notes for Editors

 

  1. Abortion in Malta: the numbers

 

  1. About FPAS Malta

The Family Planning Advisory Service (FPAS) was launched on 1st August 2020. It is a free service provided by pro-choice volunteers and supported by three pro-choice Maltese NGOs: Doctors for Choice Malta, Women for Women Foundation, and Women’s Rights Foundation.

FPAS provides information to people in Malta on sexual and reproductive health and services, and can refer you to other pro-choice service providers who will be able to help you further. FPAS can be contacted online at  www.fpas.mt or by calling 27782758.

 

  1. About Abortion Support Network

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a charity that provides financial assistance, non-judgmental information and accommodation to people in Poland, Malta, Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man who seek abortions. Travelling abroad for an abortion can cost from E500 to E2500 or more depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While many organisations campaign for much needed law reform, ASN provides those travelling for abortions with the help they need most immediately: money and practical support. ASN is a member of the Abortion Without Borders / Aborcja Bez Granic initiative. www.asn.org.uk

 

  1. About Voice for Choice

Voice for Choice is coalition composed of ten civil society organisations and number of individuals that represent various sectors of society that together want to work for reproductive rights and justice in Malta. Our aim is to raise awareness in the community and combat the stigma and shame surrounding abortion, as well as providing up to date information to support evidence-based policy. The coalition is lobbying for decriminalization of abortion to ensure that all pregnant persons, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, beliefs or age are supported, respected and protected whatever their choices. Email:  [email protected]

 

  1. About Women’s Rights Foundation

Women’s Rights Foundation (WRF) is a voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights as well advocating for women’s rights on all matters.

 

WRF aims to ensure that women’s rights are protected through policy and law reform, raise awareness and offer training to end violence against women, as well as provides free legal advice and initial legal representation to women who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and discriminated due to their gender.

 

WRF offers free legal services and representation to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment, human trafficking and gender discrimination.

 

WRF also advocates and is committed to raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health to women and girls, ensuring that they have access to all forms of contraception. https://www.wrf.org.mt/

 

  1. About Doctors for Choice (Malta)

Doctors for Choice (Malta) is a voluntary organisation of medical professions in Malta that advocates for comprehensive and evidence based sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Malta. It advocates for comprehensive sexuality education, freely accessible contraception, the decriminalisation of abortion, and the legalisation and provision of abortion services in Malta. www.doctorsforchoice.mt