Independent MP Marlene Farrugia has filed a private member’s bill in Parliament proposing the decriminalisation of abortion.
As of today, abortion is banned in Malta.
Farrugia said that the aim of this bill is “to ensure that no person is discriminated against or criminalised over their healthcare.”
She said that the Bill, which was presented on Wednesday, will also make it so that no medical professional will be criminalised for medical assistance they provide to others.
This would mean that articles 241.1, 241.2 ,242 and 243 would be removed from Chapter 9 of the Criminal Code, which address penalties imposed on woman and medical professionals who perform an abortion in any form or manner, which could lead to a sentence in prison.
One of the aforementioned clauses which she proposes be deleted reads: “Whosoever, by any food, drink, medicine, or by violence, or by any other means whatsoever, shall cause the miscarriage of any woman with child, whether the woman be consenting or not, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to three years.(2) The same punishment shall be awarded against any woman who shall procure her own miscarriage, or who shall have consented to the use of the means by which the miscarriage is procured.”
Farrugia said: “I think we all agree that every person’s life needs to be looked after and given all the support to reach its potential.”
The MP said that the country should not be “discriminating against women” or “threatening them with a law that jails them.”
“We need to create a society where the woman feels free from every form of discrimination,” Farrugia said, where a woman can feel “secure, safe and respected”. Part of this would mean that she would have access to healthcare services which are both preventative and curative, Farrugia said.
Irrid nghix f’ Pajjiż fejn il -mara tal-llum tant tkun rispettata , meqjuma u ttrattata sew fiżikament, mentalment u…
The MP also remarked that there needs to be a “level playingfield”, and the opportunity for her to live above “social and economic poverty.”
“If we want to look after lives, we need to do this with love and support, and not with oppression, condemnation and stigma. Let’s make this year a landmark year for the rights and care for women and for life,” Farrugia concluded.”
One Article she wants to introduce to replace those that will be deleted is: “Any person who for non-medical reasons, by means of violence, force, deceit, bribery, threats and/or coercion, causes the termination of the pregnancy without the person’s full and informed consent, shall unless the fact constitutes a more serious offence under any other provision of this Code, be liable on conviction to imprisonment between four to ten years.”