Last week a woman in Malta appeared in court charged with having an abortion. Malta has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world, with abortion banned under all circumstances – though it is rare for charges to be brought to court.
The case has been condemned by pro-choice groups in Malta including Women’s Rights Foundation, Doctors for Choice, Voice for Choice and FPAS. The Voice for Choice coalition strongly opposed the trial and renewed its call for the decriminalisation of abortion, calling the case a “perversion of justice”.
Last year Andrea Prudente had to be privately airlifted to a hospital in Spain after being denied an abortion to save her life in Malta, and is now suing the government for a breach of her human rights. Malta is considering changes to the law to allow abortion when the mother’s life is at risk, but the Prime Minister Robert Abela has confirmed that forthcoming law reform will keep abortion criminalised. He has also said he is ‘not comfortable’ with a woman being charged for having an abortion.
Last week, the woman at the centre of this case was supported by WRF’s legal team, and was given a conditional discharge at the court date. The case was heard behind closed doors, but details have since emerged that the woman was reported to police by her abusive partner. This is reminiscent of Ania*, the woman who was helped by Justyna Wydrzyńska in Poland in 2020. Doctors for Choice said:
“We never expected someone who is well off, in a supportive relationship, and who is able to travel to an abortion clinic abroad to end up in this situation. It was someone who was unable to travel, was in an abusive relationship, and was very vulnerable who was dragged through the Maltese criminal justice system for having an abortion.”
Hundreds of people in Malta access abortions every year, either by travelling for a procedure in another country, or by ordering medical abortion pills from overseas providers.
We stand with the unnamed woman, and anyone who has been affected by this inhumane law. We believe that everyone has a right to choose to end their pregnancy at anytime, anywhere.
If you are currently in Malta and need support in having an abortion, you can contact FPAS:
- FPAS phone number: +35627780037 or +35620341686
- Email: [email protected]