The Malta Independent 25 August 2019, Sunday

Doctors for Choice Malta - what do we aim to achieve?

Sunday, 30 June 2019, 09:28 Last update: about 3 months ago

In reply to ‘A timid opposition, Malta Air and other matters’ by Mark A Sammut (TMIS 23 June 2019) Doctors for Choice Malta advocates comprehensive, evidence-based reproductive healthcare services in Malta, which includes access to the legal and safe termination of pregnancy. Our position is in keeping with the guidance and standards of all the reputable international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Federation of Gynaecology & Obstetrics (FIGO), and the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG).

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On 2 May 2019 we launched our group and have since embarked on an information campaign aimed at bettering the health of the community in Malta. Using our own social media portals, newspaper and television appearances, we have expressed our concern over the current lack of proper sex education, barriers to contraception access and the dangers associated with criminalised abortion.

Our four key aims

1.        Expand and improve sexual and reproductive education

2.        Establish universal access and free contraception (including barrier methods, oral contraceptive pill, morning-after pill, depot injections, implants and intra-uterine devices)

3.        Decriminalise abortion

4.        Legalise and provide abortion services locally

We have been breaking down long-held misconceptions. For example, providing information on overseas abortion and referring patients to the Abortion Support Network is actually not illegal. Medical doctors and healthcare professionals can do this without any legal repercussions.

We have also recently raised the issue that the morning-after pill (MAP) is not always available to those who need it, with many pharmacies in important locations not stocking the pill, and the National Health Service not providing it at all (not even against payment). Rape victims, who may be admitted to hospital, often cannot go to a pharmacy and buy it. They have to rely on relatives to buy it for them, once shops outside the hospital are open, and not all victims have someone to help them out. Pharmacies that do stock the MAP are only accessible during specific and limited times of the day and not everybody may be able to afford it financially. The sooner an MAP is taken, the more effective it will be in preventing a pregnancy. Time is of the essence and for this reason, there should be 24/7 access to everyone who needs it.

We are part of the pro-choice coalition Voice for Choice, collaborating with all the other member organisations and individuals to break the taboo and fight the stigmatisation of abortion.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Drs4ChoiceMalta. This is the main way we share information with the public. Contact us through Facebook or email us on [email protected]

 

Dr Gilbert Gravino

 

Co-founder / Media & Communications Officer

Doctors for Choice Malta

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