Abela ‘not comfortable’ with conviction of woman charged with abortion

Opposition leader insists he is still against abortion, but says a debate on the issue is needed in the country

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said he is not comfortable with the conviction of a woman charged with abortion.

“What we said would never happen, has happened. I am not comfortable with the situation,” Abela said on Friday afternoon.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition leader Bernard Grech were interviewed by State of the Nation conference organiser and former journalist Lou Bondi.

Abela was reacting to the indictment and conviction of a woman over abortion on Thursday. NGO Voice for Choice revealed the arraignment was handed down a conditional discharge for carrying out an abortion at her own personal residence.

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

Questioned on abortion, Grech said he has always been against abortion, and is still of the belief that it is “killing”.

“This does not mean that the subject should not be debated. A discussion must be held on why people want access to abortion, and why they have arrived at that situation,” Grech said.

Malta’s institutions

Asked on corruption, Abela was adamant the situation has improved under his tenure.

“There has been no major scandal which came out after January 2020. People will criticise my statement, but they can verify it themselves,” Abela said.

He said his administration has strengthened the police force and the judiciary with “major reforms.”

Abela also said the major corruption allegations which have emerged in recent years, are being investigated by the country’s institutions.

The PM also said his government has carried out major rule of law reforms “which no Nationalist government had the courage to carryout”.

He also slammed the Opposition and civil society’s “constant attacks” against the police commissioner.

“Unlike previous commissioners, this is a police commissioner which was not handpicked by the PM, who was part of a shortlist, and who was scrutinised by a parliamentary committee. The opposition was absent from this discussion because they want to instil doubt from the very start,” he said.

He also insisted that the way government has fought organised crime has been “unprecedented.”


Questioned on the economy, Opposition leader Bernard Grech labelled it a “pyramid scheme”, saying it was only focused on numbers rather than quality.

“You see the creation of new layers with foreign workers. We cannot continue to have an economy of numbers, we need an increase in quality,” he said.

“What are foreigners contributing to the country’s treasury? Yes, they are important, and are contributing to the economy, but what are they contributing to the treasury? We need to start having this discussion.”

He also made reference to the country’s carrying capacity, saying Malta will soon reach an infrastructural breaking point.

Abela warned against the rolling back of economic growth, saying it would have disastrous effects on the country’s economy.

Leaders describe themselves

For the final question of each leader’s question time, they were asked to describe themselves.

Grech said he feels he is a “fair” person, saying it is what the country needs at the time.

“We need a fair environment, a level playing field, where everyone succeeds on their own merit,” he said.

Robert Abela said he does not fear change, stating he wants to change people’s lives to the better through “courageous reforms”.