Over 200 reach out to Abortion Support Network since 2019

Abortion Support Network founder Mara Clarke: people requested information on abortion clinics, reputable online providers of medical abortion pills as well as funding to travel abroad

Over 200 people have contacted the Abortion Support Network (ASN) since the NGO expanded its services to Malta, ASN founder Mara Clarke revealed.

Since expanding its services to Malta back in February 2019, people had contacted the NGO for information about abortion clinics, reputable online providers of medical abortion pills, funding to help with the costs of abortion and travel, and logistical support.

“We helped 75 people in 2019 and 126 people in 2020. The increase was likely due to an increased awareness of ASN and the help we provide and the added pressure Covid-19 placed on people in Malta with unintended or non-viable pregnancies,” Clarke said.

For the last two years, pro-choice groups have been operating in Malta to ensure that people have access to factual, unbiased information about all pregnancy options and support to access abortion in a safe environment.

“We launched Malta’s first-ever pro-choice coalition in March 2019 and spent the past two years campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion and for laws that bring Malta’s abortion laws in line with international human rights standards,” Lara Dimitrijevic from the Woman’s Rights Foundation said to mark the occasion.

Dimitrijevic said that an October study done by Vincent Marmara found that 18.1% of people would favour the introduction of abortion in Malta. “This is a ten per cent increase over the previous year, with even higher numbers of younger people in favour of abortion law liberalisation. Change is happening.”

Professor Isabel Stabile of Doctors for Choice said that when ASN first opened in Malta, they had to signpost anyone who wanted factual pregnancy options to counselling services in the UK. However, Stabile said the Family Planning Advisory Service (FPAS) launch in August 2020, which now people in Malta a local option. 

“In our first six months, FPAS was contacted by 203 people who sought advice on reproductive options. Additional queries were about assisted reproductive technology including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis,” Stabile said.

Stabile said that it was a “shame” that people in Malta continued to be reprieved of access to essential reproductive healthcare. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for the time dedicated to helping people in Malta who are neglected and denied their rights by the state,” she said.   

Pro-choice groups in Malta has pledged to continue to do whatever they can to ensure that anyone in Malta who wants an abortion can access one safety and provide information to pregnant persons unsure of their options.