The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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No evidence abortion is life-saving procedure for pregnant women with mental illness – psychiatrists

Tuesday, 6 December 2022, 05:33 Last update: about 3 months ago

There is no evidence that supports the idea that abortion could be life-saving for an expectant mother who is suffering from mental illness, the Maltese Association of Psychiatrists said.

This contradicts the position taken by the government that a termination of a pregnancy could save the life of a pregnant woman who has mental issues.

Parliament is currently debating a government motion which opens the way to abortion if an expectant mother is deemed to be suffering from mental illness and wants to terminate the pregnancy.

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But there is no evidence that links the two together.

The Maltese Association of Psychiatry firmly stands with parity, the association said in a statement. Any debate on indications for termination of pregnancy as a life-saving measure in the context of mental illness must be based on evidence-based scientific facts as would happen for physical illness. “Consequently, we note that to date there is no evidence base supporting termination of pregnancy as a life-saving procedure in the context of perinatal mental illness,” the association said.

“As stated in our earlier statement, mental illness in this day and age is largely treatable: safe treatment is indeed available to support a mother’s recovery in the perinatal period even if in situations of imminent risk to the mother. We encourage pregnant women, mothers and their carers to seek help through the appropriate systems available.”

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