[WATCH] Majority of University students opposed to abortion, KSU study finds

Almost 60% of students who responded to an online survey said they were against the legalisation of abortion, with just over 40% saying there were in favour

Christian Aquilina from the KSU's Social Policy Office
Christian Aquilina from the KSU's Social Policy Office

A majority of students enrolled in courses at the University of Malta are against the introduction of abortion in Malta, a survey commissioned by the student’s union (KSU) has found.

Addressing a press conference during which the results were announced Christian Aquilina from the KSU’s Social Policy Office said the survey’s respondents were representative of the student population.

Aquilina explained how the KSU had decided to discuss the subject of abortion and to issue a position on the subject. He said that the council had initially reached out to student organisations and asked them for their position, however, it was eventually decided that a survey should be carried out in order to gauge how students felt.

A survey was made available online and could only be answered by students who have a University of Malta email address.

Petra Galea from the KSU Social Policy Office
Petra Galea from the KSU Social Policy Office

Aquilina said that the survey was sent to all students at the university – some 11,000 students – and was also made available on the KSU’s social media and other platforms.

A total of 733 respondents, 63.6% of which were female, responded to the survey.

Prior to launching the survey, a “public consultation” exercise was held with the aim of informing students about the medical procedure, which remains a taboo in Malta.

The consultation included a “balanced panel” discussion with representatives from both the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” camp.

Despite the fact that all of Malta’s political parties have stated their position against abortion, a group of NGOs have recently formed a coalition to lobby for the introduction of abortion.

Asked for the KSU’s position on the matter, Aquilina said the organisation was against because it wanted to reflect students’ position.

The survey

Students were asked whether they agreed with abortion under a number of specific conditions including instances where the mother’s life was in danger, where there was the possibility of a “life threatening illness on the child”, “any form of disability of the child”, rape, financial instability, any form of addiction, not being ready for parenthood, teenage pregnancy and “not wanting a child regardless of all of the above”.

Faculty representation within the student sample
Faculty representation within the student sample

For each question, students were asked to reply with a score from one to five, with one representing strong disagreement and five representing strong agreement.

An average rating score was calculated using the responses, with an average greater than three indicating that a majority of students agreed with the statement.

The only question to receive a rating higher than three, and therefore which a majority of students agreed with was abortion in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. A score of 3.69 was obtained with 21% saying they disagreed, 16.6% saying they were neutral and 62.3% saying they disagreed.

The conditions with the highest rate of agreement after a threat to the mother’s life were a life-threatening illness on the child (2.97), rape (2.91) and the possibility of the child having a disability (2.30).

 

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