450 Doctors Sign Petition Against Malta Bill to Legalize Abortions

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 1, 2022   |   10:57AM   |   Washington, DC

Hundreds of medical professionals including doctors, nurses and midwives all across the tiny island nation of Malta are urging the government to protect unborn babies from abortion by amending a new abortion bill.

This week, more than 450 doctors signed a petition calling on the Maltese Parliament to change language in a bill that they say would open “the door for legal abortion” on demand, Newsbook reports.

Although lawmakers who support the bill say the intent is to clarify that abortions are allowed when the mother’s life is at risk, others 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.

“This terminology is too vague and unfortunately has led to the introduction of abortion on demand in numerous countries, starting from the UK in 1967,” Doctors for Life said in a statement Thursday. “This is due to the holistic definition of the word ‘health,’ which encompasses mental health and wellbeing.”

Maltese pro-life leaders support exceptions for abortion when the mother’s life is at risk, but they said the current bill goes too far by allowing abortions for broad “health” reasons. 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.

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

According to Doctors for Life, about 98 percent of abortions in the UK are done for mental health reasons – even though abortion is not a mental health treatment.

“Doctors for Life strongly urges the government not to confuse abortion with psychiatric care or community support,” the medical organization continued. “Fortunately, current psychiatric medications include several options that are relatively safe in pregnancy, and local specialists provide an excellent perinatal mental health service ensuring a high level of care for pregnant women.”

They urged Malta citizens to join them in signing the petition. Written by 80 leading medical professionals, lawyers, ethicists and academics, it proposes amending the bill to ensure that Malta remains “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.”

To date, more than 20,200 people have signed the petition.

Along with the doctors’ organization, the nurses and midwives union MUMN also opposes the bill as written, and requested an urgent meeting with the prime minister this week to discuss it, according to the Times of Malta.

Last week, Parliament passed the first reading of the bill, and a final vote could occur before Dec. 19, the start of Christmas break. To become law, legislation must pass three readings and then receive the president’s signature.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and Health Minister/Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne support the bill, asserting that it will not be as expansive as pro-life advocates say.

However, President George Vella, a medical doctor by profession, opposes it. He reportedly told people close to him that he would resign rather than be forced to sign a bill that legalizes the killing of unborn babies.

Malta pro-life leaders are organizing a national protest at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at Castille Square in Valletta.

The small European country has resisted international pressure to legalize abortion for years. Abortions are illegal in almost all cases in Poland, but Malta is the only European country that fully protects unborn babies from abortion.

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.

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