top of page
  • Writer's pictureDoctors for Choice

Woman prosecuted for having an abortion in Malta, given a conditional discharge

What should have never happened, happened today the 1st June 2023: a Maltese woman was arraigned in court to face charges of having had a medical abortion at home. Malta's abortion law from the 19th century criminalises women who procure their own abortion, as well as doctors who perform abortions.

The woman in this case had contacted Doctors for Choice for help. She was subsequently referred to the Women's Rights Foundation for legal support. We are informed that the report came from someone known to her, and there is no evidence of the police actively targeting women who order abortion pills online.

The Women’s Rights Foundation’s legal team assisted her throughout the ordeal and this morning her lawyer informed us that, after a court session behind closed doors, the woman was let off with a conditional discharge which means no fine or prison time was imposed. It is a silver lining that the court decided not to inflict punishment, and is more evidence that abortion as a criminal offence is an anachronism and should be repealed.

We are informed that throughout the investigation and the proceedings she was treated with the dignity and respect that she deserves by the police and our justice system. While we appreciate that, it does not change the fact that this should never, ever have happened in this day and age. Criminalising women who perform an abortion on themselves makes Malta an exception in the European community, with not even Poland with its restrictive laws going as far as prosecuting women who terminate their own pregnancies.

Access to safe abortion is recognised worldwide as an essential part of women’s healthcare and a fundamental human right. That women are prosecuted for it locally should put us all to shame. We once again call for politicians to decriminalise abortion without delay, and allow women to access healthcare safely and legally.


bottom of page