The Women’s Rights Foundation has called for access to safe and legal abortion in a press conference in front of Parliament in Valletta. Calling abortion a human right, they demanded a national policy that would give this right to Maltese woman.
They said that abortion should at least be given in the following circumstances: “To save a woman’s life, to preserve a woman’s physical and mental health, in cases of rape and incest and in cases of fatal foetus impairment.”
The group launched their policy paper on sexual health strategy that included a number of recommendations on contraceptions, family planning, comprehensive sex education, and access to safe and legal abortion.
They also asked for easier access to contraception to those with financial difficulties.
The group demanded a compassionate and responsible national policy that would give Maltese women the right to all options that they might need.
“A national action plan needs to be developed with clear responsibilities, timelines and measures of monitoring and evaluation to ensure accountability and quality standards in services. Actions should be assessed on the bases of structural, process and outcome indicators using the Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Quality approach,” they said.
“The development and implementation of this action plan needs to involve stakeholders from different fields together with maximising participation of civil society and citizens,” the policy paper said.
Women rights activists such as Women’s Rights Foundation founder Lara Dimitrijevic and Women for Women founder Francesca Fenech Conti were present and supported by other activist groups like Moviment Graffitti.
Malta’s abortion laws remain among the most restrictive in the world, and the discussion around legalising it remains controversial and taboo for some parts of Maltese society.
In the face of this, the WRF believed the local laws need to change.
“Maltese women who access abortion in other countries or through telemedicine do not face criminal proceedings and risk three years imprisonment especially when accessing local health services for possible post-abortion complications,” they said.