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The need for abortion

Published in the Times of Malta on 22.09.2020




I refer to Klaus Vella Bardon’s letter ‘Defending the Truth’ (September 2). As a Doctor for Choice, I firmly believe that there is a sense of mature responsibility in seeking abortion under certain circumstances. Indeed, women who have abortions do so because they take very seriously the responsibilities that come not just with birth but with nurturing a human being. It may not be for you, Vella Bardon, because you and your ilk are upright model citizens who are willing to extend choice to your own decisions but not to those of others.

Indeed, women in Malta are being deliberately misled by organisations such as LifeNetwork that offer to give information about pregnancy options but instead intentionally scare them with lies and medical misinformation. Using deception and intimidation in an attempt to prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortion care overseas is a hallmark of organisations such as LifeNetwork.

I also wonder why Life Network never rebuts my statements regarding their allegiance to a far-right extremist group, nor do they present scientifically proven data to counter my claim that they promote medically false information. Perhaps this is because they cannot.

If empowering women means lying to them, coercing them into remaining pregnant and sharing medical untruths, then sure, Life Network is a champion for women’s rights. Pull the other leg, Vella Bardon.

I also refer to John Azzopardi’s earlier letter ‘Preserving life’ (August 6). I wonder if your readers have noticed that the vast majority of negative comments in response to my attempts to discuss the issue of abortion in a civilised manner have come from men, incidentally also mainly middle aged or older. They will do everything in their power to protect an embryo but, once born, will they help with the upbringing, housing, education? Iwonder what their daughters (and hopefully future sons-in-law) think of this?

The issue of abortion is not about what these men think about when life begins, or what is sacred and untouchable. This is about what women do when they are in dire straits, because they are too old, or too young; because they are terrified.

It’s about what these desolate, devastated women (and sometimes couples) decide to do in the intimacy of their homes. Please climb down from your privileged position, Azzopardi, and walk in their shoes. What would you do if this were your granddaughter?

Would you call the Family Planning Advisory Service’s (FPAS) free helpline on 2778 2758 to obtain unbiased, free information about preventative reproductive health care, including contraception, and yes, also abortion? Maybe not, but an average of one woman a day in Malta has done just that since we launched it six weeks ago.

By Prof Isabel Stabile

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Doctors for Choice (Malta) is a registered voluntary organisation in Malta (VO/1816) and a Partner Organisation with Global Doctors for Choice (GDC).