Abortion is a healthcare issue, pro-choice doctors group says

A position paper that Doctors for Choice will release tomorrow is expected to say that abortion is a healthcare issue and that a complete ban on abortion is a risk to women's lives

File photo
File photo

The guiding principle of Doctors for Choice, the pro-choice group, is that abortion is a healthcare issue and that a ban on abortion is ultimately a risk to women’s lives.

“Abortion care is healthcare. This is the position of our organisation, as well as that of the highest medical institutions worldwide, including the World Health Organisation,” their position paper is expected to read.

The group of doctors aims to publish their position paper on Wednesday during a press conference.

The group was founded in May of last year, 25 doctors advocating for safe, accessible, comprehensive, evidence-based and reproductive healthcare in Malta.

The group says that Malta’s ban on abortion in all circumstances was deemed “not in line with international human rights standards and regional practices” by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights in 2017.

This complete ban is exclusive to Malta amongst all EU member states.

“The complete ban on abortion is a risk to women’s lives… as shown by observational scientific studies, denying women an abortion on request has negative repercussions on their physical health, mental health, and social situation,” the group wrote in a summary it provided of the paper.

It added that Maltese women still travel abroad to get an abortion or ingest illegal abortive pills, so the Maltese law does not stop abortions from happening.

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children makes it clear that children have a right to access safe abortion and post-abortion care services… abortion is a very safe procedure, with statistically lower rates of morbidity and mortality than childbirth,” the group says, insisting that claims that abortion harms women’s mental health are not founded on scientific evidence.

The position paper was authored by a team of six Maltese doctors from various clinical specialities: Dr Christopher Barbara (Psychiatry), Dr Gilbert Gravino (Clinical Radiology), Dr Jamie Grech (Paediatric Medicine), Dr Natalie Psaila (General Practice), Dr Elena Saliba (Paediatric Medicine), Professor Isabel Stabile (Obstetrics and Gynaecology).