The Malta Independent 21 March 2019, Thursday

‘Every international human rights and health organisation sees Malta’s laws as an abomination’

Giulia Magri Thursday, 14 March 2019, 10:07 Last update: about 7 days ago

Contacted yesterday by The Malta Independent, Dr Lara Dimitrijevic Director of Women’s Rights Foundation weighed in on this week’s abortion debate, saying, “The situation is more than shameful.

“There is not a single international human rights organisation, or organisation of health professionals – the WHO, United Nations, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner of Human Rights - that does not think that laws similar to those in Malta when it comes to abortion are nothing short of abomination and repeatedly condemn Malta for this failure.”

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Women’s Rights Foundation is one of civil society organisations which have formed part of the first pro-choice and pro-abortion coalition, ‘Voice for Choice’.

Dimitrijevic explained that the coalition was created to lobby for the decriminalisation of abortion and advocate for a law which ensures the health of pregnant people is protected in line with International Human Rights standards. “We are lobbying for proper abortion care and to raise awareness in the community and combat the stigma and shame surrounding abortion.”

When asked about former European Court of Human Rights Judge Giovanni Bonello’s recent statement on abortion and that the procedure can be legally undertaken abroad where it is permitted, she said, “As the Women’s Rights Foundation we have been stating this all along and this was the reason why we supported Abortion Support Network in their decision to extend their services to Malta.”

She said that women travel abroad to seek health services that are available to women in practically all the countries in the world, not only the EU, is not illegal and neither is seeking or providing information about health services in other EU countries.

“The fact remains that the State of Malta is outsourcing its duty to provide adequate health care to other countries in the EU at the expense of poor and marginalised people.”

She added that the law never prevented people of means from going abroad and performing an abortion. “Pretending that it doesn’t exist will not make it go away.”

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