Right to Abortion
Published in the Times of Malta on 24.10.2020
I refer to the letter by Calleja (Oct 12) whose religion-based morality leads her to a number of false conclusions. First, she assumes that all women are overwhelmed with joy when they have a positive pregnancy test. Not all women want to become mothers. Indeed, many live their lives happily child-free. Is her privileged position in life obscuring her judgement? Does she realise that, without the financial means to raise a child independently, having an unplanned pregnancy might mean remaining tied to an abusive partner?
Second, there is incontrovertible scientific evidence that the overwhelming majority of those who have had an abortion do not regret it. Her mis-statements distract from the fact that freely accessible reproductive choice is still seriously limited in Malta.
The third, and most egregious allegation, is that women are lured into having abortions and then abandoned. This again is entirely false. Services such as FPAS Malta (which can be reached by calling 27782758) provide free, unbiased and non-judgmental advice as well as ongoing support about all possible choices, including parenting, adoption and yes, also abortion. We believe that providing accurate information allows women to exercise their right to choose the best possible option for themselves, in the particular circumstances they find themselves in.
I further refer to Mifsud (October 2), a former social worker to boot, and his continuous attempts to obfuscate. There is nothing pro-life about denying people comprehensive sexual education, making birth control harder to access, forcing women to give birth against their will, and stripping them of medical care when they are at their most vulnerable for fear of being criminalised. I know he is anti-choice, but I’m beginning to think that he may actually be pro-birth.
I further refer to Pace (October 7) whose lengthy, but largely irrelevant contribution to the abortion debate, reaches a number of unfounded conclusions. Abortion is illegal in Malta under all circumstances, but as a medical professional, I do have a duty of care, which is not limited to Maltese territorial waters. Imagine my horror on hearing the story of one of my patients, a non-Maltese woman, who sought advice about having an abortion abroad. She consulted a local female gynaecologist privately, who refused to refer her to a clinic abroad. So, Pace, not only am I not ashamed at what I am doing, I am proud of it. Your children and grandchildren will eventually thank all of us in the pro-choice movement.
Finally, I refer to Azzopardi (October 5), and assert unequivocally that my stance is clinically correct. I defer to the Pope on issues of Catholic morality, but abortion care is health care, and if you do not believe me (I’m only a gynaecologist), read the evidence-based guidelines published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, among others.
by Prof Isabel Stabile