Family planning clinics and abortion discussed at the 1980 Labour Party General Conference

Documents sourced from Women's Rights Foundation Malta show the Labour Party had recommended to government the creation of 'Family Planning Clinics' to reduce the risk of women having abortions 

1980 Labour Party leader Dom Mintoff
1980 Labour Party leader Dom Mintoff

As far back as the late 70s and into the early 80s, the Labour Party recommended the creation of "Family Planning Clinics" to reduce the risk of women having abortions. 

This was one of the recommendations given to the government by the "Workers' Party Annual General Conference in 1980".

"We draw the Government's attention to the recommendation made last year, that ‘Family Planning Clinics’ should be set up as early as possible to help to reduce the risk of a woman having an abortion," the document sourced from Women's Rights Foundation Malta (WRF) stated. 

The Annual General Conference in 1980 also discussed abortion. It stated that the Labour Party was against abortion, so much so it continued to strive to "remove all the causes that lead to Maltese woman to go against nature and commit an abortion."

However, it recommended that the government resist the pressure by "a few fanatics" across the country and "continue to forgive those women whose tragic circumstances have led them to have an abortion." 

Former Labour Party general secretary Dominic Fenech had referenced this recommendation on social media. “As long as there is a Labour government, no woman found to have had an abortion could go to jail.”

Fenech said this the resolution was binding – "it's not quite decriminalization, but de-penalization," Fenech had said.  He also praised independent MP Marlene Farrugia’s decision to present a bill decriminalising abortion.

The debate on abortion was placed on the country’s agenda after Farrugia presented the bill around two weeks ago.

Farrugia said that the COVID-19 pandemic allowed her to reflect on the health struggles faced by women, saying that Malta needs better awareness of women's needs in today's society, including medical and sexual education needs, to increase the quality of life among women in Malta.

Malta is one of a few countries globally, and the only European Union state to completely ban the termination of pregnancy.