108 Members of the European Parliament have come out in support of the government's Bill to protect doctors from criminal action when a termination of pregnancy results from a medical intervention aimed at protecting the life and health of the mother.
The letter, circulated by Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer was also signed by 55 members of various European national parliaments.
Most of the signatories are from the socialist group and the Greens.
“I could not stand idle when I saw the letter penned this weekend by three conservative UK Parliamentarians and some others from the House of Lords, who encouraged the Maltese Parliament to reject the amendments in Parliament. I therefore asked my friends in the European Parliament to support the Maltese government’s decision to give legal certainty to medical practitioners to do all possible to save lives," Engerer said in a statement.
The three UK parliamentarians and a number of members of the UK's House of Lords had expressed "extreme concern" about the bill. They said that a similarly worded law in the UK in 1967 had, in practice, allowed for abortion on demand to occur in the UK.
Engerer said he asked for 105 signatures and got a larger amount in just 10 hours not only from the European Parliament but also 14 different national Parliaments in Member States and Britain's House of Lords.
The letter praises Malta for taking "a step in the right direction when it comes to protecting the fundamental rights of women, and medical practitioners.” “
This is an important step in Malta and Europe’s history, which will have great and lasting positive effects on Maltese women, Europe and the world”, they continued.
"The European Parliament has long called for the right to abortion to be included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and we will continue to do so, as we firmly believe that everyone has the right to a safe and legal abortion," they added.
The European Parliament has just over 700 members.
See the letter and the list of signatories by clicking on the pdf below.