Activists reiterate call on government to liberalise abortion laws

A total of 82 women have contacted the Abortion Support Network (ASN) for help since its services were extended to Malta a year ago today.

In a joint statement, the Voice for Choice and ASN said out of the 82, ASN has funded travelling, consultations and abortion care for 10 women. The women contacting ASN were aged between 19 and 46.

The vast majority wanted unbiased information about the options available to them. The majority were seeking information on reputable providers of early medical abortion pills. Several callers could afford the cost of the abortion and travel and just needed guidance on how to make arrangements.

Those who needed financial help were given a total of £8,882.74 (€10,700.34) in grants from the charity, £2,263.52 (€2,726.69) towards the cost of travel and accommodation and £6,619.22 (€7,973.66) towards consultations and abortion care services, or an average of £888.74 (€1,070.60) per client.

A few callers stopped contacting the charity after their initial email or call, a few were unable to travel due to lack of childcare or immigration status, and some decided, after considering their options, to continue with the pregnancy.

ASN founder Mara Clarke said: “While we are unhappy that people from Malta need to contact our charity for help in order to receive factual information about pregnancy options and help with abortion care, we are glad to be of service to anyone in Malta who wants or needs to terminate a pregnancy and lacks the information or funding to do so.

“We long for the days when our services are no longer necessary, not only for people in Malta, but anywhere else. Until then, ASN remains committed to supporting people in Malta in any way we can, for as long as our services remain needed.”

Christopher Barbara, on behalf of Voice for Choice said: “These numbers continue to confirm that women from Malta have had to rely on other countries and NGOs to receive the healthcare they need, because of the inability of policy makers in Malta to put evidence-based medicine and human rights before personal beliefs.

“It is a shame that Malta continues to deliberately digress from what is internationally considered good medical practice when it comes to abortion care. We do not digress like this in any other medical field, and it is a symptom of women being treated as second class citizens in our country.”