The Malta Independent 20 October 2018, Saturday

300 to 400 Maltese women go abroad for an abortion each year - AD chairperson

Rebecca Iversen Sunday, 4 February 2018, 14:53 Last update: about 10 months ago

Approximately 300 to 400 Maltese women go abroad to have an abortion each year, according to AD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo.

Speaking during an activity organized by the Malta Unborn Child Movement, Cacopardo said official statistics only exist for the UK. Annual medical reports in the UK show that some 60 Maltese women a year have an abortion performed in that country. These numbers, however, do not include abortions performed in Italy (mainly Catania, Rome and Milan but also other locations) as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and others to obtain an abortion.

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Cacopardo said he got the 300-400 figure from doctors he has spoken to about the issue.

According to statistics measuring the frequency of abortions among women of childbearing age, the rate for Malta is between 3.6 and 4.7 per thousand women. The EU average is 4.4.

“In a nutshell, these statistics indicate that the Maltese seek abortion almost as much as any other European Nation,” Cacopardo said.

“Some of you, after all that has been said, are undoubtedly asking when and who will introduce abortion in Malta. The answer to this question is very simple one: no one, because abortion is already around us,” he said, adding that the fact that abortion is illegal in Malta does not deter women from seeking the procedure abroad.

Cacopardo said if the country wanted a serious debate on abortion it should start first by trying to understand the facts. It should be an informed debate, not one “intended to pit the saints against the sinners.”

AD has never advocated for the introduction of abortion, he said, but the party believes that more should be done to address those circumstances that lead to abortion.

Genuine respect towards human life, he said, is not only shown during pregnancy, but also before and after.

He referred to the situation in Ireland, where the Christian Democrat government is heading towards a referendum in favour of abortion because the subject goes beyond politics.

“In Malta those who are in favour of abortion are taking their own decisions and finding those who provide the service. Until the insults stop it is not going to be possible for these people, Maltese like us, to get the help they need  … when they need to make a hard and difficult decision. They will feel alone, insulted and harassed by a society that is looking for artificial purity.”

“Our society is changing fast. The obligation to respect each other must also manifest itself in these circumstances. Because what is the point in saying we respect everyone’s opinion if we then resort to anger and insults against those we do not agree with?”

“One day, perhaps, we will make progress. And progress is only measured when everyone is valued, regardless of his views. Unfortunately, it seems that we are far away.

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