More than 200 people in Malta have contacted Abortion Support Network looking for information on the illegal procedure.
Celebrating two years since expanding their services to Malta, ASN said people reached out to the service to ask for information about abortion clinics, reputable online providers of medical abortion pills, funding to help with the costs of abortion and travel and logistical support.
ASM helped 75 people in 2019 and 126 people in 2020.
The rise was likely due to increased awareness of ASN along with the pressure COVID-19 placed on people in Malta who had unintended or non-viable pregnancies.
“We were pleased to see October’s study by statistician Vincent Marmara showing that 18.1% of people would be in favour of the introduction of abortion in Malta. This is a 10% increase over the previous year, with even higher numbers among younger people in favour of abortion law liberalisation. Change is happening,” Lara Dimitrijevic of Women’s Rights Foundation said.
Professor Isabel Stabile, from Doctors for Choice, noted the positive impact stemming from the Family Planning Advisory Service (FPAS) launched on 1 August 2020, which gives people information on their reproduction options.
In the first six months, FPAS was contacted by 203 people.
“It is a shame that people in Malta continue to be deprived of access to essential reproductive healthcare,” she said.
Malta is one of the last countries on the planet with a blanket ban on abortion. And while the issue is still considered taboo, the debate has geared up in the last two years.
Malta’s medical community has found a way around the laws, employing a double effect principle. However, the issue reared its head once again when a woman with an ectopic pregnancy was delayed treatment despite her potentially fatal condition.
Despite the ban, Malta’s sexual health policy is considered to be worryingly outdated, with promised reforms failing to take hold.
Meanwhile, contraceptive pills, which can also be used to treat acne, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis, continue to suffer constant shortages which was only exacerbated by disruptions coming from COVID-19 and Brexit.
And even if you can find stock, some pharmacists in Malta still refuse to sell the pill.
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