Voting for a resolution on coordinated EU action against COVID-19, only one Maltese MEP voted in favour of safeguarding sexual health in the global health crisis.
In resolution RC-B9-0143/2020, an amendment called on Member States to protect access to sexual and reproductive healths amid the pandemic, and “strongly rejects any attempts to backtrack on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and LGBTI rights, and in this context condemns the attempts to further criminalise abortion care.”
Of the Maltese MEPs, Alfred Sant was the only one to vote in favour of the amendment.
When asked by Lovin Malta to elaborate on his decision to vote in favour of the amendment, Sant declined to comment.
From the Alliance of Socialist and Democrats party, Maltese MEPs Josianne Cutajar and Miriam Dalli were the only members from the group to abstain from voting, whilst Alex Aguis Saliba was the only one from the political group to vote against the amendment.
Meanwhile, Nationalist MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa, who form part of the European People’s Party, voted against it.
All MEPs voted in favour of the final version of the text that included the amendment to protect sexual and reproductive rights.
A group of 100 European civil society organisations has already urged Malta and five other European countries to urgently reform their abortion laws, warning travel bans introduced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a heightened risk for the health and wellbeing of women seeking abortions.
“European governments must ensure safe and timely access to abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said.
With COVID-19 travel restrictions bringing ‘non-essential’ passenger flights to a halt, women in countries will abortion bans like Malta are left with no options, and may resort to unsafe measures.
Meanwhile, a UK-based charity that supports women in countries with full bans on abortions, has warned they have already received a flood of emails from women in Malta seeking the procedure.