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Frequently Asked Questions about abortion in Malta

What is an abortion?


Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy so it does not result in a birth. It is performed either by taking medication (the most common method), or by physically removing the pregnancy in a minor procedure.




Is abortion legal in Malta?


No. Despite being an essential health service for women, abortion is illegal in Malta in all circumstances. However, it is legal for women in Malta to have abortions in countries where it is allowed. It is also common practice for women in Malta order abortion pills online.




What medications are used for abortion?


A medical abortion is usually carried out with Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol the next day, although Misoprostol could be used on its own. It is normal to have a heavy period-like bleed and cramps after taking these pills, and it should resolve after a few days. If you have continued severe bleeding, severe pain, or signs of an infection, you will need to seek medical help.




Does "abortion reversal" or "abortion pill reversal" work?


No. There is no evidence that giving Progesterone, or any other medication, after taking any abortion pills will stop abortion. Such treatment is unproven and potentially dangerous. Before taking any abortion pills, make sure you are certain you would like to end the pregnancy. Read more here.




Which abortion clinics abroad accept women from Malta?


BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Services) and Marie Stopes are two well known abortion providers that provide services in the UK to international clients, including from Malta. Also have a look at the UK's National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service's website for more information on abortion services and providers. If you cannot travel to the UK due to visa issues and need to stay within the European Schengen Area, please contact Abortion Support Network for guidance on reliable abortion providers in Schengen countries.




Which websites are abortion pills ordered from?


It is a known fact that Women on Web and Women Help Women supply abortion pills to women in countries where abortion is illegal, including Malta. They usually ask for a donation of 90 Euro and ask you a few questions to ensure that it is safe for you to take abortion pills. We are not in any way involved in the operations of these organisations. Remember that taking abortion pills while in Malta is illegal.




Should I contact a pregnancy crisis service?


Keep in mind that crisis pregnancy services are usually run by anti-abortion groups with the aim of discouraging women from having abortion, and there have been reports of women being intimidated in Malta after contacting such services to stop them from having an abortion. It is ultimately your decision whether you wish to make use of such services, but we do not recommend it. If you would like someone to discuss your pregnancy options with, we recommend contacting a pro-choice organisation like Abortion Support Network.




I cannot afford to have an abortion. Who can help me?


We recommend contacting the Abortion Support Network on 27780991. Their website is www.asn.org.uk/malta and their email is malta@asn.org.uk. Abortion Support Network can provide advice, assistance, and financial support.




I have had an abortion and need medical help in Malta. What do I do?


If it is an emergency, for example you have continued severe bleeding, pain, or signs of an infection such as a vaginal discharge or fever, you will need to attend an Accident and Emergency Department. We understand that many women will be reluctant to tell a doctor that they have taken abortion pills in Malta. Not disclosing this information will not usually change the treatment offered. If you feel you need legal advice, the Women's Rights Foundation may be able to help.




What is a medical abortion?


A medical abortion means ending a pregnancy using pills. The most commonly used abortion pills are Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Abortion pills can be safely used at home up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Watch this video which explains how a medical abortion is done.




What is a surgical abortion?


A surgical abortion is a minor procedure, usually done without a general anaesthetic (you'll stay awake) that involves removing the pregnancy. Contrary to what its name suggests, surgical abortion does not involve cutting or stitches, and the pregnancy is removed through the vagina. There are two main types of surgical abortion:

Vacuum or suction aspiration

This can be used up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

A tube is inserted into the womb through the cervix (the opening to the womb from the vagina), and the pregnancy is removed using suction. In later pregnancies, the doctor may need to use special instruments to help remove the pregnancy.

Vacuum aspiration takes about 5 to 10 minutes and most women go home a few hours later.

Dilatation and evacuation (D&E)

This is used after 14 weeks of pregnancy. It involves inserting special instruments called forceps through the cervix and into the womb to remove the pregnancy.

D&E is usually carried out under sedation or general anaesthetic. It normally takes about 10 to 20 minutes and the patient is usually able to go home the same day.

Watch this video from BPAS on what to expect during a surgical abortion.




What is the limit to have an abortion in other European countries?


In the United Kingdom, the limit is up to 24 weeks of pregnancy for most cases. However, there is no limit in cases of fetal anomaly or when there is a risk to the pregnant woman's life. Abortions after 24 weeks usually require a specialist centre and can be very expensive. In the Netherlands, the limit is up to 22 weeks in most cases. In Italy, the limit is up to 90 days (around 12 weeks) in most cases.




How much does an abortion cost?


It depends on the type of abortion and where the abortion is performed. Women on Web and Women Help Women normally ask for a donation of around 90 Euro from their clients. Travelling for a surgical abortion abroad usually costs more than 1,000 Euro. The website of BPAS has a price list that gives an indication of how much an abortion costs. This does not include travel and accommodation costs.




Does an embryo or fetus feel pain when aborted?


No. According to research by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), a fetus does not have the necessary brain connections to feel pain and is unconscious before 24 weeks. Almost all abortions are performed before 24 weeks. The RCOG research can be accessed here.





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