Malta, abortion bill approved unanimously by Parliament
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The bill amending Maltàs criminal provisions on abortion which went through the longest and most controversial debates concluded its parliamentary process, with MPs unanimously approving the bill in its third and final reading without the need for a vote.
However, the discussion concerning abortion in Malta is not over yet, declared the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela who described the vote as “a historic day for our country.” He added, “people are discussing it anyway, and no politician, Opposition party, or Church can stop that in a democratic society.”
The bill was only made possible following substantial amendments to address the concerns of those who feared that the bill would effectively legalize abortion by stealth and by association.
The bill will now become law as soon as it is signed by the President of Malta: a formality that had been far from a foregone conclusion at the start of the debate. President George Vella had repeatedly asserted that he rather resign than give his assent to a bill liberalizing Maltàs abortion law, and recently sources close to Vella, said that it was Vellàs no that forced the government to change its direction.
The bill allows doctors to carry out an abortion if a woman’s life is at immediate risk or her health is in “grave jeopardy which may lead to her death”. Terminations can only take place once all other treatments have been exhausted and the decision must be taken by three specialists except in emergency cases. Interventions can only take place in licensed clinics and if the fetus can live outside the womb, the doctors must help the mother give birth. Even once the bill is enacted into law, Malta will still have among the strictest abortion laws in the world and abortion will remain illegal under all other circumstances including rape, incest, and severe fetal abnormalities.
-photo credit agenziafotogramma.it-