According to a Eurostat report, the infant mortality rate in Malta is the highest among all the European Union countries. The infant mortality rate in Malta is 6.7 for every 1000 births, which is significantly higher than the EU average of 3.6.
Responding to the report, the Health Ministry stated that this was because of the total ban on abortion in the country. It clarified that the report made no distinction between healthy babies and those born with a birth defect.
“In many European countries, mothers carrying babies suspected of having a birth defect are referred for abortion. This does not happen in our country,” the ministry was quoted as saying by Malta Today.
“Obviously, babies with a birth defect are at far greater risk of dying than those born healthy,” it added. According to the ministry, this was the reason why other countries had a much smaller infant mortality rate.
The lowest rate was registered in Finland with 2.0 and Cyprus with 1.3. “If one were to analyse the figures and subtract the same proportion of babies born with a birth defect, the mortality rate is closer to 3.6 for every 1,000 live birth, exactly equal to the European average,” the ministry said.