Last February, Times of Malta reported: “A local service offering abortion and reproductive health advice received just over 200 requests for help in the first six months since its launch in the middle of the pandemic. Family Planning Advisory Service went online in August (2020) in response to what its co-founder, Dr Isabel Stabile said was ‘a massive increase in traffic’ to Doctors for Choice, the NGO that advocates for reproductive rights.”
Stabile, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, is quoted saying: “An average of just over one person a day contacts us, which we feel is significant, considering the size of our population.”
In a 34-second Facebook post in October last year, Stabile is seen promoting and prompting the use of the tablets Mifepristone and Misoprostol while saying: “Approximately 90 per cent of abortions are done with a simple procedure using abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol.” She had been seen saying the same thing on television, a short time before, when she met Konrad Borg, president of Doctors for Life.
The Times of Malta report also added: “A UK-based charity offering abortion support has also reported that requests for help from women in Malta spiked since it extended its services to the island in 2019.
“The Abortion Support Network, which provides support and funding for those having to travel to access an abortion, received 126 requests for help from Malta, up from 75 the previous year, according to founder Mara Clark Klein. ‘In a sense, we’ve been lucky because almost everyone who has contacted us has been early enough in pregnancy to get tablets rather than have to travel,’ she [Clark] explained.”
So we have Stabile’s Family Planning Advisory Service promoting abortion and the UK-based charity Abortion Support Network supplying tablets for abortion purposes in Malta.
Tara Sander Lee, a senior fellow and the director of life sciences with pro-life research group Charlotte Lozier Institute in the US, reacted to a statement by Aid Access, a European company run by Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician (who has been to Malta before), after it was caught by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mailing Misoprostol and Mifepristone, the drugs required for a medical abortion, to women in the US.
The FDA then issued a cease-and-desist to Aid Access, ordering the group to stop prescribing and mailing the drugs to patients in the US because they were unregulated.
The UK-based charity Abortion Support Network supplies tablets for abortion purposes in Malta- Tony Mifsud
In a statement, Lee said that it was “ludicrous” of Gomperts to sue the FDA, “a government agency charged with protecting the public health of women by assuring the safety and efficacy of any drug”.
“Far from being safe and effective, abortion pills from Aid Access have been shown to be damaged and contaminated and these tainted drugs have caused serious and, sometimes, even fatal, bacterial infections and excessive bleeding in women,” Lee said.
FDA-approved versions of the medical abortion drugs have been available to US consumers since 2000 but medical abortion drugs may only be prescribed by a certified healthcare provider in a hospital, clinic or medical office setting. They may not be sold online or in a retail pharmacy.
These requirements are part of an FDA risk mitigation programme, REMS, used for all higher-risk medications. The letter to Aid Access stated that the FDA-approved version of Mifepristone, called ‘Mifeprex’, is under the REMS programme because “the drug carries a risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects, including serious and sometimes fatal infections and prolonged heavy bleeding, which may be a sign of incomplete abortion or other complications”.
In an article entitled ‘What if our Family Planning Advisory Service did not exist?’ (MaltaToday, September 22), Stabile declared: “As expected, the majority of our callers requested information about the provision of abortion (40 per cent) and a further 10 per cent related to post-abortion medical questions such as possible side effects after Mifepristone or after having had a surgical abortion abroad.”
That is Stabile talking to women who have had an abortion after using Mifepristone (if and when they call FPAS) and not before. Apparently, the authorities in Malta seem to be unaware of what is going on in this sector.
In the meantime, Stabile seems to feel comfortable prompting women in Malta, locals and foreigners alike, to receive abortion pills at home and to swallow them as if they are blissfully swallowing tablets because of a sore throat.
Tony Mifsud is coordinator, Malta Unborn Child Platform.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us