Abortion no part of women’s health rights, Maltese government says


Southern Europe


Protest against abortion bans. Photo EPA, Michael Reynolds

The Maltese government will not abolish the total ban on abortions. It is still convinced that the “right to sexual and reproductive health services” does not include the right to abortion.

Die Tagespost writes that the government explicitly reaffirmed its view on abortion. Malta, therefore, remains the only European country where abortion is entirely illegal.

Malta felt called to clarify its position in the abortion debate after the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights called the country to lift its abortion ban. The Independent writes that the Council says that having no access to abortion “endangers women’s right to health.”

In addition, the Council argues that the abortion ban endangers “women’s right to life, freedom from torture and ill-treatment, freedom from discrimination and the right to privacy.”

Thus, the Council requested Malta to “repeal provisions criminalising abortion.” The country was also asked to “develop comprehensive regulation of women’s access to legal and safe abortion and improve the availability of sexual and reproductive health services.” Furthermore, the Council inquired Malta to “guarantee the equality of all women concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights by providing evidence-based information and compulsory comprehensive sex education.”

However, the Maltese government responded that the right to sexual and reproductive health services does not include an “intrinsic right to abortion.” Furthermore, the government argued that it “remains the competence of the individual member state to decide whether abortion “should form part of a range of sexual and reproductive health services.”



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