Maternal Mortality in Malta,
and the lack of Abortion Access
The maternal death rate in Malta is average amongst EU countries. However, only seven out of 28 EU countries have rates higher than Malta. Countries such as Finland, Greece, Sweden, Czech Republic and Austria have much lower maternal death rates. Apart from the fact that Malta does not fare better or even match many of the other countries which offer safe legal abortion, we need to consider the many women (estimated by the Women's Rights Foundation to be between 200 and 500 per year) who travel abroad out of their own expenses to get the reproductive healthcare they need. In other words, the figures currently quoted for Malta are partly sustained by services from other countries, with the shortcomings of our system being partially masked.
If overseas abortion was not an option (which is still the case for some with financial or mobility issues), women could suffer death from deteriorating physical conditions or suicide. Even if a woman does not die, it does not mean that she is getting the best healthcare she deserves. Others may injure themselves with long term health problems, suffer mentally and suffer socially. Those who do manage to go abroad to get the help they need are still not getting the care they deserve, as they face unnecessary stress in an already difficult situation; financial difficulties; being away from family when they need it the most; a healthcare system that they do not know and that does not know them; and no opportunity for proper follow-up. The WHO makes it very clear that lack of access to abortion leads to poor health outcomes.
No matter how many or how few pregnancy cases end up in death, it should be the woman herself who makes the decision as to whether she is willing or not to take that risk. NOT her doctor. NOT the government. NOT anyone else.
We do not need to count dead bodies to give women their right to autonomy and choice !