Proposals to change Malta’s abortion laws have been endorsed by the Green party, which however wants reform to go further.

ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that the plans presented in parliament were a stepping stone to further debate about existing abortion laws but were essentially “half-baked” and only introduced due to negative publicity following the Andrea Prudente case this summer. 

Amendments to Malta’s criminal code that were presented to parliament last week seek to protect doctors and mothers from the risk of prosecution when they terminate pregnancies that pose a risk to the mother’s life or place her health in “grave jeopardy”. 

The proposal, which was presented by the government, comes after US tourist Andrea Prudente was forced to fly to Spain to terminate a pregnancy that developed serious complications while she was holidaying in Malta. 

The PN Opposition has said that it is against the plans, with some of its MPs warning that the government is seeking to gradually introduce abortion into Malta. A group of academics have also come out against the proposed changes. 

ADPD said that it had long campaigned for abortion to be decriminalised and the proposals would simply codify into law a long-standing practice at Mater Dei Hospital. 

 “There is the need for the current legislation, that reflect Malta of 160 years ago, are updated to match the progress that has taken place in the medical and scientific fields along the years,” said Cacopardo. “A mature debate should consider how the circumstances that would permit medical intervention to safeguard the life and health of the mother are defined in the most clear manner possible.”

The party’s deputy chair Sandra Gauci said that discussion about abortion “should reflect the ethical pluralism that we now have in our country which has led to the introduction of divorce, IVF (and the associated screening) as well as the recognition of LGBTIQ rights that ADPD has been insisting upon since its inception.” 

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