With the abortion debate reaching a fever pitch, two interesting statistics have emerged. Despite Malta having zero maternal deaths in the last nine years, it still has the highest rate of infant mortality in the entire EU.
According to official figures, the number of infants in Malta who die before turning one was 6.7 for every 1,000 births, the worst in the EU.
While Malta does share the top spot with Romania, the rate in Malta has continued along an upward trend, while the latter’s has slashed by almost half in the space of a decade.
On the other hand, while Malta’s official rate for maternal deaths is closer to nine for every 100,000, it still remains one of the lowest in the EU.
To discover whether the abortion ban is behind the conflicting figures, Lovin Malta contacted both Doctors for Life and Doctors for Choice to get their take on the issue.
Unfortunately, Doctors for Life declined to answer the questions sent, instead saying that it will issue position papers on the issue in the “coming weeks and months”.
“Abortion ban contributes greatly to infant mortality” – Doctors for Choice
While steering clear of a completely definitive answer, Doctor’s for Choice (DFC) said that while an abortion ban does contribute greatly to infant mortality, it still was unclear whether it was the only reason why Malta’s rate was the worst in the EU.
“[Termination] is the kind and humane thing to do, so as to avoid profound emotional and physical trauma and suffering for both her and the child should it be delivered.”
Instead, DFC said, the criminal status of abortion is “cruelly” forcing women to continue on with their pregnancy despite the severe anomalies and just wait for their child’s death.
“One has to consider the torture these women and their families must go through when being all but forced to proceed with a pregnancy that they know will end in their child’s demise shortly following the trauma of childbirth itself,” they continued.
The child’s life, DFC explained, would not be “cushy and comfortable” but would rather be “ invariably full of prodding and pricking in an incubator in intensive care in an attempt to keep it alive”.
Even if the child does live, they said, their life is usually a hospital-based one, “waiting until it stops responding to extraordinary life-sustaining measures”.
Maternal mortality figures, DFC said, also says “nothing of the human suffering that lies beneath”
“How many women suffer life-altering complications as a result of an unwanted pregnancy that could have been avoided by means of termination?”
“How much anxiety and pain is caused to women who are told that because of a pre-existing condition they are at an insurmountably high risk of complications as a result of their pregnancy, and are in essence risking their lives every day?
“How many children are raped and abused and forced to deliver despite the extreme risk of complications?”
“Must a woman die in order for us to finally wake up and realise that we are depriving our own people of the care they need for the sake of being pro-birth?” they said.