The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Government amendment ‘opens the door for introduction of abortion’ - academics

Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 11:31 Last update: about 7 days ago

A group of experts in medicine, science, social and family policy, philosophy, ethics, psychology and law say that the government’s amendment to the law freeing doctors and pregnant women from the threat of criminal prosecution if a pregnancy is terminated for reasons related to the woman’s health are “opening the door to abortion”.

In a statement, the academics said the Government does not only speak of instances where the woman is at risk of dying, but also adds the words “or her health in grave jeopardy”.

They also noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations declared that the word “health” also means mental health.

Therefore, with the Government’s amendment, a pregnancy can be terminated, not just in cases where the woman’s life is at risk, but also in cases of mental health conditions,” the statement said. “This means abortion will be allowed if a woman is going through serious mental conditions, none of which should ever justify the sacrifice of a baby’s life.”

Therefore, instead of this amendment as proposed by the Government:

243B. No offence under article 241(2) or article 243 shall be committed when the termination of a pregnancy results from a medical intervention aimed at protecting the health of a pregnant woman suffering from a medical complication which may put her life at risk or her health in grave jeopardy.

We are proposing this amendment:

No crime is committed under article 241(2) or article 243 when the death or bodily harm of an unborn child results from a medical intervention conducted with the aim of saving the life of the mother where there is a real and substantial risk of loss of the mother's life from a physical illness.

The academics said they “will soon be publishing a paper detailing the rationale behind our proposed amendment. We will also be publishing the full list of professionals who are also objecting to the Government’s amendment and supporting our proposed amendment.”

The amendments to the law were tabled in Parliament on Monday.

At present, abortion is prohibited at law in all circumstances and both the doctor and mother risk jail time if they go ahead with a termination, irrespective of the reasons why.

 

 

 

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