Abortion remains an incredibly taboo topic in Malta, with the country having some of the most restrictive laws in the world, the vast majority of people opposing it and no mainstream politician ever going against the flow and speaking out in favour of legalising it.
Nevertheless, 41.6% of University of Malta students want to see abortion legalised, with 58.4% against it, according to a scientific survey carried out by the University Students’ Council (KSU).
Abortion legalisation is clearly more popular among female students than among male ones, with a significant 47.2% of women on campus coming out in favour of it, compared with 31.8% of men.
The survey was carried out by KSU, with the guidance of statistics lecturer Prof. Liberato Camilleri, among a sample of 733 students. Besides being asked for their general stance on abortion, students were also asked whether it would be justified in specific circumstances.
62.3% said they agreed with it when the mother’s life is in danger, 43.1% when the child’s life is in danger and 42.6% in cases of rape. Elsewhere, 22.7% of students said abortions should be allowed if tests show the child will be born with a disability and 27.9% said it should be allowed if the mother is suffering from an addiction.
24.8% said it should be allowed in cases of teen pregnancies, 24.6% if the mother is in a financially precarious situation and only 19.07% if the mother simply doesn’t want the child.
The survey also shows that abortion is backed by 68.2% of communications students, 52.9% of European Studies students and 56.2% of students from the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, which includes counselling and psychology.
It is backed by 42% of medicine students, 45.6% of law students, 44.6% of arts students but only 3.8% of theology students.
After the publication of the survey, KSU president Carla Galea said the Students’ Council will adopt its findings, which is that the majority of students oppose the legalisation of abortion.
“We’re always in favour of discussions on any topic, including abortion,” she said. “The survey numbers speak for themselves and it’s now up to the public to interpret them as they want to.”