Malta to Ease EU's Last Total Ban On Abortion

On Wednesday, Malta's Health Minister, Chris Fearne, announced that the Mediterranean island is set to propose a change to its abortion law to allow doctors to terminate a pregnancy if a mother's life or safety is at risk. Malta is the only current EU state to have a total abortion ban.

Malta to Ease EU's Last Total Ban On Abortion
Image credit: File Photo [via Reuters]

Facts

  • On Wednesday, Malta's Health Minister, Chris Fearne, announced that the Mediterranean island is set to propose a change to its abortion law to allow doctors to terminate a pregnancy if a mother's life or safety is at risk. Malta is the only current EU state to have a total abortion ban.
  • The reform comes after US tourist Andrea Prudente was refused an abortion in June for a non-viable pregnancy while facing a potentially deadly infection. She was eventually transferred to Spain, where she had the procedure.
  • In September, Prudente sued the Malta government, claiming that the law banning abortion in all circumstances breaches human rights. The case hasn't yet come to trial.
  • Under current law, if an abortion is performed to save a mother's life, both the doctor and the woman face up to four years in prison.
  • The first reading of the amendment will be presented to parliament on Monday.

Sources: Reuters, BBC News, Street Insider, Euro, and Malta Today.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by Malta Today. Finally, political attitudes towards abortion in Malta are beginning to change. Often used within Maltese politics for self-serving, partisan interests, the topic of abortion is now being treated as a genuine ethical issue that requires long-overdue reform. This may be the first step to eliminating the Mediterranean island's archaic abortion law.
  • Right narrative, as provided by Times of Malta. Media coverage surrounding Malta's abortion laws has often been plagued by misinformation. Polling has consistently shown that a majority support Malta's pro-life stance. While this latest reform purportedly attempts to balance this stance with women's health, Malta needs to be cautious not to bend to outside media pressure.