Decriminalisation of Abortion
One of the aims of Doctors for Choice is to campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion in Malta. This may seem like a complex concept, but it's actually rather simple. At the moment, women who have abortions in Malta face three years in prison. Doctors who help women have abortions in Malta face four years in jail and a permanent revocation of their licence. Malta's Criminal Code (Criminal Law) states:
Article 241 (1) Whosoever, by any food, drink, medicine, or by violence, or by any other means whatsoever, shall cause the miscarriage of any woman with child, whether the woman be consenting or not, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to three years.
Article 241 (2) The same punishment shall be awarded against any woman who shall procure her own miscarriage, or who shall have consented to the use of the means by which the miscarriage is procured.’
Article 243 Any physician, surgeon, obstetrician, or apothecary, who shall have knowingly prescribed or administered the means whereby the miscarriage is procured, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to four years, and to perpetual interdiction from the exercise of his profession.’
Decriminalisation means that abortion is no longer seen as a criminal act. This does not mean abortion becomes unregulated, but it is regulated like any other medical and surgical procedure, and not through penalties in the Maltese Criminal Code. The relevant articles criminalising abortion should be revoked completely.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have taken official stands in favour of the decriminalisation of abortion.
Irrespective of your personal views on abortion, would you rather punish women who have had an abortion (some of whom could be your family and friends) by sending them to prison for 3 years? OR Would you rather help them and support them?
We hope it is the latter. Current Maltese law criminalising abortion also stops women who need medical attention from seeking help. This is why abortion has to be decriminalised.
Support those around you and your loved ones by advocating to decriminalise abortion.