The Malta Independent 22 March 2019, Friday

Emergency contraceptive pill to be made available in hospital to rape victims

Rebekah Cilia Sunday, 17 February 2019, 09:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

The emergency contraception pill will be one of the services offered to rape victims at Mater Dei Hospital, The Malta Independent on Sunday has learnt.

Government sources have told this newsroom that discussions are currently ongoing with an NGO, Victim Support Malta, for them to offer a range of services to rape victims.

This follows an interview published by The Malta Independent with gynaecologist Dr Michelle Montanaro Gauci who said that the emergency contraceptive pill is not stocked for cases of sexual assault. Although the intention was to have it available for these special scenarios, this has not happened.

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The victim may be given a prescription, depending on the doctor, but she would have to procure it herself later. Montanaro Gauci said that in these cases time is of the essence.

In 2016, Minister for Health Chris Fearne told MaltaToday that once the pills would be licensed by the Medicines Authority, it will be made available at Mater Dei free of charge for rape victims. In December of the same year, the MAP was made available in pharmacies with or without a prescription.

Following the interview with Montanaro Gauci, the Women's Rights Foundation pointed out on its Facebook page that "today, more than two years later, we have confirmation that the emergency contraception is not stocked at MDH and that rape victims are not offered one, not even for sale."

In the EU, it is estimated that one in every 20 women has been a victim of rape once after reaching the age of 15, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reports. The same Agency notes that in Malta, nine per cent of females were victims of sexual violence.


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