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Almost 500 pregnant women in Malta received abortion pills in 2023




During the year 2023, a total of 491 pregnant women in Malta received abortion pills to terminate their pregnancy from the telemedicine services provided by Women on Web and Women Help Women, according to figures provided to us by these organisations. The corresponding figure for 2022 was 424, which means there has been a year-on-year increase of around 16%.

 

During 2023 the country enacted the first change to its abortion laws in recent history. Unfortunately, the law as enacted is not fit for purpose. The new law will not help women who experience complications in pregnancy similar to that of Andrea Prudente, and it does not consider the plight of those who are victims of sexual crime or who receive a diagnosis of severe fetal anomaly.

 

A key aspect of the debate on Bill 28 was whether it would “introduce abortion” to Malta. The fact that just last year around 500 women received the means to terminate their pregnancy shows how incorrect and how detached from reality such statements are. Abortion is already in Malta, and more people are opting to terminate their pregnancy in their own homes. Terminating a pregnancy using abortion pills at home is considered safe up to 12 weeks of pregnancy by authoritative medical organisations, including the World Health Organisation. Women in Malta should not be considered criminal for accessing abortion care services that are legal in all other EU states, and yet we continue to see cases in Malta of vulnerable women being summoned in front of courts for terminating their own pregnancy.

 

To keep women in Malta safe, Prof Isabel Stabile and Dr Natalie Psaila offer a free Abortion Doula Support Service – telephone number 20341683 - which anyone can ring for free abortion advice.

 

Our organisation has also recently launched a Contraception Helpline – 20341685 – which offers free advice on contraception to anyone, and aims to keep unwanted pregnancy rates down.

 

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A note on data: Women on Web have started to offer an advance provision service, whereby abortion pills are sent to women who are not pregnant for potential future use. To ensure accuracy of data and comparability with previous years’ figures, the numbers for advance provision are NOT included in the figure above. Women on Web and Women Help Women are the most popular abortion telemedicine services used by women in Malta, but there are likely to be many other sources by which women in Malta access abortion pills, which means the figures above are likely to be a significant underrepresentation of the number of women in Malta who access abortion pills each year. Also, the figures do not include anyone who travels from Malta to have an abortion in a clinic abroad.

 

More information on how the number of abortion pill packs sent to Malta has increased in recent years can be found here: https://www.doctorsforchoice.mt/post/exclusive-record-number-of-people-in-malta-ordered-abortion-pills-online-in-2022

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