Former Maltese Prime Minister and current MEP Alfred Sant confirmed he is “leaning towards pro-choice” on the issue of abortion, saying its legalisation is “inevitable”.

Malta’s blanket ban on abortion made international news with anonymous testimonies of Maltese women who had abortions; interviews with local pro-choice NGOs and a surprising revelation from Maltese MEP Alfred Sant.

Whilst he told the Guardian that he leans towards being pro-choice, he also said the issue is “not a cut and dried one”.

Sant was the only Maltese MEP of six to vote in favour of an EU resolution in March to protect reproductive health services in the pandemic.

“In private, people admit that there’s a hypocrisy to our stance. Politicians, too,” Sant told the English newspaper.

“They know that Maltese are going abroad to get abortions and that there are local doctors who recommend abortions. They admit that there are scenarios when abortion is justified. But they won’t say so publicly.”

There were at least 58 women in Malta who got an abortion in 2019, the UK’s figures on the medical procedure shows. Meanwhile, others in Malta travel to other countries around Europe to terminate their pregnancies, with Italy, France, Spain, and Germany providing women with access to the medical procedure.

Sant says local dialogue on the taboo topic is shifting and it is “inevitable” that abortion will eventually be legalised.