Malta Pro-Life Advocates Protest Bill That Could Allow Abortions for Any Reason Up to Birth

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 28, 2022   |   1:17PM   |   Washington, DC

Malta pro-life leaders are organizing a national protest Dec. 4 against a bill that could allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth in the small island nation.

Although lawmakers say the intent of the legislation is to clarify that abortions are allowed when the mother’s life is at risk, pro-life leaders say the language is too broad and elective abortions also would be allowed. Malta is one of the few countries in Europe that protects unborn babies’ right to life.

“If the government’s amendment becomes law, abortion will be allowed for any reason, because it ‘may’ affect the mother’s health,” the Life Network Foundation said in a statement. “This includes mental health. In the [United Kingdom], one abortion happens every three minutes for ‘mental health’ reasons.”

Along with the Life Network, Doctors for Life and I See Life also are helping to organize the protest at 3 p.m. at Castille Square in Valletta, Newsbook reports.

“We invite all the people of good will to join us in the protest and send a clear message to government that government has no mandate to introduce abortion, even less to do so by stealth,” the pro-life organization continued. “Now is the time to stand up and be counted.”

The Times of Malta reports the bill, which advanced in Parliament last week, allows abortions “when the termination of a pregnancy results from a medical intervention aimed at protecting the health of a pregnant woman suffering from a medical complication which may put her life at risk or health in grave jeopardy.”

ACTION ALERT: To oppose this pro-abortion bill, Contact lawmakers in Malta.

Health Minister Chris Fearne told the Associated Press they want to make the law clear that medical professionals are allowed to perform abortions to save mothers’ lives.

However, the allowance for “health” exceptions, not just when the mother’s life is at risk, has caused alarm. In the United Kingdom and other countries, the term “health” is very broadly defined in abortion laws to include basically anything; some abortionists say pregnancy itself is a “health risk,” therefore justifying the killing of unborn babies for any reason at any time.

On Sunday, Archbishop Charles Scicluna mentioned the UK Abortion Act of 1967 in his warning to Catholics in Malta, Euractiv reports.

“Who am I to deny this being a life? Who am I?” Scicluna said, adding that every child deserves a right to life “because life is too precious and beautiful.”

However, Prime Minister Robert Abela asserted that the bill will not legalize abortion on demand and any doctor who is caught abusing it to abort an unborn baby will be prosecuted, according to the report.

“The existing practice already safeguards the life of the prospective mother and her health from grievous danger. The only thing that will change is peace of mind from legislative proceedings,” Abela said. “The amendment will not legalize abortion. It is disappointing that some are trying to justify their opposition to this amendment by twisting facts.”

In response, Life Network published a proposed amendment to the bill written by 80 leading medical professionals, lawyers, ethicists and academics to ensure that Malta continues to protect unborn babies’ lives.

“The updated wording would ensure that the proposed law is limited to the current policy where doctors can always act to save the life of the mother, even if this results in the undesired death of the baby, but will not legalize abortion in Malta,” the organization said.

Pro-life organizations also are asking people to sign a petition to the prime minister. Find it here.

Recent polls indicate the country supports strong protections for unborn babies. According to Lovin Malta, a 2020 survey found overwhelming public opposition to abortion, with just 5.2 percent of residents saying they support unrestricted access to abortion in the first trimester.

Malta has resisted international pressure to legalize abortion for years. In 2013, pro-abortion groups also accused Malta of “torture” because its laws protect unborn babies’ lives. The accusation came from the International Commission of Jurists, a human rights organization, in a report to the Human Rights Council. It also claimed Malta is unnecessarily endangering women’s lives by prohibiting abortions.

Until recently, a number of European countries protected unborn babies by prohibiting abortions. However, Ireland abandoned its pro-life laws in 2018 and Northern Ireland was forced to legalize abortion 2019 by the British Parliament.

Abortions are illegal in almost all cases in Poland, but Malta is the only European country that fully protects unborn babies from abortion.

ACTION ALERT: To oppose this pro-abortion bill, Contact lawmakers in Malta.