Underage Pregnancy in Malta,
and the lack of Abortion Access
Pregnancy and giving birth at a very young age are associated with very high risks since these girls are still growing and developing, and pregnancy places additional demand on their body. Young pregnant girls, sometimes as young as 10 years old, are significantly more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, severe infections and depression, all with possible long-term consequences. In fact, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls across the globe according to the World Health Organization.
The current legislation in Malta forces these pregnant young girls, who have been raped and abused, to give birth. These girls have no alternative but to carry and deliver a dangerous pregnancy that poses a threat to their health and life.
A baby delivered by a young girl also faces higher risks of preterm delivery, low birthweight and severe neonatal conditions with long-term potential effects.
Malta’s Office of the Commissioner for Children (OCC) has recently expressed that the possibility of asserting the rights of the unborn may run in direct conflict with “the right to life, health, and best interests of a pregnant girl.” Therefore, the OCC has given a tentative green light for the government to pursue the UN’s recommendations for the sexual and reproductive health of adolescent girls, which includes the safe access to abortion and post-abortion services.
Read more information about adolescent pregnancy by the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-pregnancy