In a major announcement, the Abortion Support Network – an NGO based in Britain – revealed that 43 Maltese women contacted them seeking information regarding overseas abortion process.
ASN started working in Malta in February this year. The NGO also said that the online providers received hundreds of requests asking how to access early medical abortion tablets.
“These numbers show what activists have known for years – that making abortion against the law doesn’t stop abortion but forces women and pregnant people to travel abroad or look online for healthcare,” Malta Today quoted ASN as saying.
It reiterated that the ban on abortion was forcing Maltese women, who cannot afford an overseas abortion, to take risk of getting caught by ordering early abortion pills online.
In some cases, these women are also trying dangerous options like self-abortion. On the other hand, women who can afford are choosing to go abroad for abortion.
The organisation Chief Executive Ruth Taylor was also quoted by Malta Today as saying that women were contacting ASN to seek help in finding the information about abortion clinics, safe early abortion pills, and also financial assistance.
ASN does not facilitate or carry out abortion but only provides support to women. Taylor added that women contacting them are in the age bracket of 19 to 25 years.
“At least two were pregnant as a result of sexual assault and a further two had pregnancies diagnosed with severe foetal abnormalities. ASN’s helpline provided information and awarded funding to cover the costs of telephone consultations, travel costs, and abortion services abroad,” she told Malta Today.
Women rights groups have been demanding that the ban on abortion in Malta be lifted to ensure that women can choose what they want to do with their bodies.
The groups also organised Malta’s first pro-choice rally today at the Hastings Garden.