MaltaToday Survey | 18% say they now support decriminalisation of abortion

A MaltaToday survey finds that 66.9% of people disagree with decriminalising the termination of pregnancy, while 18% are in favour

A majority of people disagree with the decriminalisation of abortion, although opposition is less pronounced among the young and tertiary educated, a MaltaToday survey finds.

The results show that 66.9% of people disagree with decriminalising the termination of pregnancy, while 18% are in favour and 15.1% are unsure.

The survey was carried out between 31 May and 4 June, almost three weeks after independent MP Marlene Farrugia presented a Bill to strike off abortion from the Criminal Code.

Another survey carried out in April had found a relative majority of 46.9% were against sending women who terminate a pregnancy to jail. The survey had specifically asked about jail time not decriminalisation.

However, it also found a majority agreed with jail time for medical professionals who carry out abortions.

The apparent contrast between the April results and the latest survey findings suggest that although people may generally feel that women who have an abortion should not be imprisoned, the termination of pregnancy should not be decriminalised.

Young, graduates and up north

The latest findings show that among those aged between 16 and 35, 57.7% disagree with decriminalisation while 32.5% agree. This is the cohort with the strongest support for decriminalisation.

The lowest support is among pensioners with only 6% agreeing with the suggestion that abortion should be decriminalised.

On a geographical basis, the strongest opposition to decriminalisation is in Gozo with 77.9% against and only 3.8% in favour.

Strongest support for decriminalisation is in the Northern region with 25% in favour and 62.5% against. This is followed by the Western region with 22.8% in favour of decriminalisation and 62.3% against.

When the numbers are broken down by the education level attained, decriminalisation finds strongest support among those with a tertiary and a post-secondary education, where 26.6% and 25.2% respectively agree.

Political allegiance

Labour Party voters are more likely to support decriminalisation than Nationalist Party voters although the margins are very close.

While 17% of those who voted PL in the last general election support decriminalisation, 65.5% are against and 17.5% are unsure.

Among PN voters, 14.5% are in favour of decriminalisation and 71.7% are against, while 13.8% are unsure.


The survey was carried out between Monday 31 May 2021 and Friday 4 June 2021. 650 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate the Maltese demographic. The estimated margin of error is 4.9% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.