Among the more notable events of 2019, the launch of Malta’s first pro-choice movement – a coalition of NGOs and civil society groups determined to start a national debate about what is certainly a controversial and emotional subject.
The fact that these NGOs have openly come out in favour of the medical procedure, and are actively lobby for its decriminalisation, in and of itself shows how Maltese society has changed over the years, but not enough, it appears, to have changed people’s minds.
A survey carried out in July 2019 found that 90.2% of the population was against giving women access to unrestricted abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. 5.2% said they agreed, while 4.6% said they didn’t know. Slightly more women said they favoured access to abortion within the first three months.
Labour Party voters were three times more likely to say they agreed with given women access to safe abortion when compared to Nationalist Party voters.
Support for the procedure ran highest among those who were under 35 and who ha received a university education.
If you thought abortion was a taboo subject in Malta, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that opposition to abortion ran at 100% in Gozo. No respondents said they were in favour, or uncertain for that matter.
Support ran highest in the Western region – that’s Dingli, Balzan, Lija, Attard, Zebbug, Iklin, Mdina, Mtarfa, Rabat and Siggiewi – where 7.3% were in favour. 7.1% in the Northern region, made of up Gharghur, Mellieha, Mgarr, Mosta, Naxxar and St Paul’s Bay, said they were in favour.
The highest level of acceptance of abortion was registered when respondents were presented with a scenario where the mother’s life was in danger, where support increased to 37.4%. Interestingly, women were more likely than men to agree.
20% accepted abortion in instances were the child was to be born with a severe disability. 14.6% in cases of rape and 5.2% if the mother is under the age of 16.
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