VICTORY: Malta drops plan to legalize abortion after powerful pro-life pushback

By Jonathon Van Maren

Since 2021, the pro-life movement in Malta has been fighting to keep abortion out of their nation—the last in the European Union where pre-born children are still protected under law. The Maltese government, under massive pressure from a pro-life coalition of doctors, lawyers, ethicists, judges, and tens of thousands of citizens who signed petitions, recently released a redraft of the abortion amendment to make it clear that the killing of pre-born children is not being legalized. As the pro-life Coalition Inti Tista’ Ssalvini stated in their press release: 

The Coalition concludes that the amendment as now proposed does not introduce abortion to Malta but will codify the existing life-saving practices currently being applied in Malta, and provide further safeguards for mothers, unborn babies, and doctors.

The coalition acknowledges that the Government’s redrafting of the amendment was a direct result of the over 25,000 people who emailed the Prime Minister, Minister of Health, and the MPs of their District, the more than 20,000 people who demonstrated in Valletta and the many individuals that expressed their concerns publicly on social media or privately with their MPs – sending a clear message that the original draft of the law would have introduced abortion to Malta, and this was not acceptable to the people of Malta.

The coalition thanks the Government for having listened to the concerns raised by the Coalition that was led by Life Network Foundation, Doctors For Life, and I see Life, supported by President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, many other pro-life groups, the 44 NGOs, Groups and Associations, and the 80 expert group made up of doctors, medics, judges, lawyers and ethicists across Malta and Gozo.

“The voice of the people of Malta has been very clear: we are a pro-life nation, valuing every life, the mother that deserves our utmost protection especially when in difficulty, the unborn child that today we have saved, thanks to this new version of the legislation, we will continue to do this,” said Dr. Miriam Sciberras, CEO of the Life Network Foundation. “This new version of the amendment is a great relief to all of us, so we can get back to our primary work of helping mothers in crisis situation, with rebuilding their lives and caring for their children.” 

Malta’s battle began in 2021 when American tourist Andrea Prudente requested and was refused  an abortion after suffering ruptured membranes during pregnancy. She was airlifted to Spain where she procured a termination via early delivery. Following this, the government announced a review of the abortion ban. Health Minister Chris Fearne insisted that the case highlighted the need for a more permissive abortion regime, and the press promptly joined the campaign for legalization. The initial amendment proposed by the government contained vague language permitting abortion for the purpose of the mother’s “health,” which in other nations has resulted in abortion on demand.  

The pro-life movement mobilized and demanded that the loophole be closed and that the language reflect the existing regime in Malta, where doctors already have the ability to intervene to save a mother’s life—it is important to note that Malta’s maternal health record is excellent, without a single instance of maternal mortality in the past decade. The media’s reporting on Malta’s pro-life victory is predictably deceitful. As Dr. Calum Miller noted of the coverage: “Reuters are incapable of telling the truth on abortion globally. Here they say that Prudente’s doctors admitted her life was in danger but refused to perform an abortion. But her doctors explicitly said otherwise – which is why they didn’t perform one.” Reuters did, however, acknowledge that the work of the pro-life movement produced this result, headlining their article “Malta govt backs down on abortion bill after protests.” 

“In Malta, doctors are protected, and have been protected for generations, to do what is necessary if the mother’s life is in danger, even if that means that the inevitable consequence would be the death of the child,” Sciberras told me in an earlier interview. Indeed, women have always had access to life-saving treatment—but pro-abortion propaganda from the Americas to Europe insists that women will die if children in the womb are protected. In the Prudente case, Sciberras noted, it has since been established in court of law that her life was not in danger. Nevertheless, this case—like the case of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland—was cited as evidence for the necessity of an abortion amendment in Malta’s criminal code.  

This time, the abortion activists failed and the pro-life movement succeeded. Pre-born children are still safe in Malta due to the hard work of thousands of Maltese citizens—including President Dr. George Vella, who told me in a 2021 interview that he would resign the presidency before signing a law legalizing abortion. It is a moment for celebration and heartfelt gratitude.   

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