[WATCH] ‘Law is not stopping abortion, it’s only making it unsafe’

Xtra on TVM News Plus | Pro-choice activist Andrea Dibben says judicial protest challenging Malta’s abortion ban is only first step in legal saga that could go all the way to European Court of Human Rights

Pro-choice activist Andrea Dibben (left) interviewed by Xtra Sajf host Saviour Balzan
Pro-choice activist Andrea Dibben (left) interviewed by Xtra Sajf host Saviour Balzan

Maltese law is not stopping abortion from happening but it is just making it an unsafe option, according to pro-choice activist Andrea Dibben.

“The law cannot stop abortion; it is just making it unsafe because people who want to terminate their pregnancy will still do so,” Dibben said on Monday when interviewed on TVM News Plus’s Xtra Sajf.

Dibben said a judicial protest filed by scores of women and pro-choice organisations recently seeking the legalisation of abortion is just the first step in a process that could see the matter being taken all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

Maltese law bans abortion in all circumstances with exception, making it one of the most draconian in the world. A woman who undergoes an abortion and the medical professional assisting her can be sent to prison. Doctors also risk losing their warrant.

Dibben acknowledged that the general mood in the country was still against abortion but insisted the younger generations were more understanding of the need to give women the choice to end their pregnancy.

Dibben said that in 2021, more than 350 abortive pills were shipped to Malta by two overseas organisations to women who asked for help to terminate their pregnancy. Apart from these, an average of 55 women every year travel to the UK to have an abortion.

“At the very least, every day one woman in Malta gets an abortion,” Dibben said, adding the restrictive law was only making it unsafe and inconvenient for women to access abortion services.