There was an increase in Maltese women requesting abortion pills from overseas charities during Malta’s partial lockdown, including from women who got raped, according to a UK newspaper.
“Women On Web, an online community based in the Netherlands, received 45 pill requests in March and 47 in April, up from 18 in February, with three women who requested abortion pills saying they had been raped by their partner during lockdown,” reported The Guardian.
UK-based charity Abortion Support Network also recorded an increase in requests from Maltese women, from an average of seven a month before the pandemic to 13 in March and April and 19 in May.
Malta is the only European country to outlaw abortion across the board, even in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk.
Statistics also revealed that at least 58 women in Malta got an abortion in the UK with others travelling to other European countries to seek out treatment. The total number is estimated to be between 300 and 400 women a year.
However, Malta’s airport has been closed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which means women seeking abortions were forced to reach out to overseas charities to obtain the pill. Some have even resorted to taken illegal abortion pills at home through the partial lockdown period.
“The women I’ve spoken to have felt trapped. I was able to help one woman with a severe foetal abnormality reach the UK but many have not been able to and have had to continue with their unwanted pregnancy,” said Isabel Stabile, a gynaecologist from Doctors For Choice.
“I firmly believe that the lack of abortion services on the island means that our medical authorities are falling short of the highest evidence-based standards recommended by international guidelines.
Malta’s draconian abortion laws recently made national news when former Maltese Prime Minister and current MEP Alfred Sant came out leaning toward pro-choice.
On the other hand, Labour MP Jean Claude Micallef urged the police to take action against people who terminate their pregnancies abroad just as they would in Malta.