Malta Doctors’ Group Opposes Bill That Could Legalize Killing Babies in Abortions Up to Birth

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 6, 2022   |   12:30PM   |   Washington, DC

Even more medical professionals in Malta came out this week in opposition to a bill moving through Parliament that could legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions for basically any reason.

On Tuesday, the national doctors’ union said government leaders never consulted them about the legislation despite claiming their intent is to protect doctors from prosecution if they perform an abortion to save the mother’s life, The Times of Malta reports.

“We agree with the first part about safeguarding a mother’s life, as this is already done in practice, but we are not happy that the text also speaks of interventions leading to the termination of pregnancies to safeguard the mother’s health,” said Martin Balzan, president of the Medical Association of Malta (MAM), at a press conference.

Balzan said doctors do not support the bill, and they did not ask for changes to the law, which protects both mothers and unborn babies by prohibiting abortions except when the mother’s life is at risk.

“Let me make this clear, if anyone thinks that this amendment was requested by doctors, it is not true,” he said.

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

Malta is one of the few countries in Europe that protects unborn babies’ right to life. Abortions are legal only if the mother’s life is at risk. This fall, MPs introduced a bill that they say would make the law more clear that abortions are allowed when the mother’s life is at risk. However, many say the language is too broad and elective abortions also would be allowed under a wide “health” exception.

Balzan said the bill would create more problems for doctors, not fewer, according to the report.

“Including the mother’s health in the discussion will only bring up more problems, rather than solve them,” he said. “This is a problem of wording, of interpretation. The text is too vague, and we believe the wording should be completely amended or changed.”

Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela and others who support the bill say they want to protect doctors and pregnant mothers in cases where her life is at risk. But Balzan said the law already does that, and his medical group does not want “anything to do with” legalizing the killing of unborn babies in the country.

In late November, 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.

Opposition to the bill is growing. Last week, more than 450 doctors signed a petition calling on Parliament to amend the bill and stop Malta from opening “the door for legal abortion” on demand, Newsbook reports.

They urged Malta citizens to sign the petition, too. 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.”

The nurses and midwives union MUMN in Malta also opposes the bill as written, and requested an urgent meeting with the prime minister last week to discuss it, according to the Times of Malta.

President George Vella, a medical doctor by profession, opposes the bill as well.

On Sunday, approximately 20,000 people showed up to protest the legislation at a pro-life rally in Valletta organized by the Life Network Foundation and other pro-life organizations.

The Independent reports leading pro-life organizations requested a meeting with the prime minister late last week and are waiting for a response. In a statement, Life Network Foundation expressed hope about Abela’s willingness to amend the bill after he told the press that he will listen to their concerns.

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.

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