New doctors' group calls for safe accessible abortion in Malta

Doctors for Choice Malta says criminalisation of abortion makes it dangerous for women who need this health service

A group of independent medical professionals have come together to form Doctors for Choice Malta, a group advocating for safe, accessible, comprehensive, evidence-based reproductive healthcare in Malta.

In a statement on Thursday, the group said abortion was a criminal offense in Malta and women continued to be denied proper autonomy over their bodies. The statement disseminated to the media was unsigned.

When contacted by MaltaToday, Dr Alexander Clayman came forward to speak on behalf of the group. “We decided to come together as a group, to create a shared list of values, that we can all support.” He said that the group, which is in coalition with Voice for Change is made up of 25 doctors, coming from a variety of specialities such as gynaecologists, family doctors and paediatricians, among others.

Clayman added, that decriminalisation of abortion was a priority for the group. When asked, about why the statement was not signed, he said that members within the group were wary of retribution.

"They are deprived of their right to seek safe, high-quality healthcare. Women who require abortion services do so because of unique, and often complex, medical, psychological or social reasons. Malta’s existing legislation results in a violation of human rights and denial of patients’ right to safe health services. This ultimately leads to poorer health outcomes," the statement read.

The doctors said that the group believes that safe access to abortion is a healthcare issue and that criminalisation of abortion makes it dangerous for women who need this health service. 

"As doctors from a variety of specialities, the existing Maltese legislation on abortion is of concern to us. We have established Doctors for Choice Malta to support women’s right to access comprehensive, reproductive health services easily. They should be able to make a fully informed choice on their pregnancy, including the option to choose safe abortion in a controlled, empathetic environment. Women should have the final decision without any interference."