Updated at 5.40pm 

The majority of students are against the legalisation of abortion, according to a university-wide survey. 

A total of 58.4 per cent of the 733 university students who participated in the University Students' Council's survey believe that abortion should not be legalised, with 41.6 per cent in favour. 

A fifth of all respondents do not even think it should be legalised when the mother’s life is in danger.

Opinion is split equally when it comes to cases of life-threatening illness on the child. A quarter strongly disagree with abortion in such cases, while another quarter agree.

Another 16.2 per cent and 16.6 per cent disagree and agree respectively.

Cases of rape also split opinion: one third strongly disagree and one third strongly agree with abortion in such cases. 15.8 per cent disagree and 11.5 per cent agree.

Read: Abortion taboo broken on Facebook

At the moment, only Malta and Andorra prohibit abortion under any circumstance, with Nils Muižnieks, former Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, noting that the island’s ban on abortion contradicted the norms of international human rights law.

The ban denied women a range of fundamental human rights and the Maltese authorities should remedy this situation, he had said.

More recently, a UK-based charity providing financial assistance, practical information and accommodation to those living in countries with restrictive abortion laws, launched its service to residents in Malta and Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, a pro-choice coalition, made up of civil society organisations and individuals who want to campaign for reproductive rights and justice in Malta has also just been set up.

According to the KSU sample of 733 out of 11,000 students, abortion should not be legalised in cases of disability of the child (64.1 per cent), financial instability (66.7 per cent), any form of addiction (62.2 per cent), not being ready for parenthood (69.5 per cent) and teenage pregnancy (67 per cent).

The majority also said abortion should be illegal when presented with four scenarios - first three months of pregnancy being intrusive (60.2 per cent) or non-invasive (55.3 per cent); second trimester (84.2 per cent), or the last trimester (91.7 per cent).

Most of the students were opposed to abortion in several scenarios. Photo: ShutterstockMost of the students were opposed to abortion in several scenarios. Photo: Shutterstock

Slightly less than two-thirds of the respondents - 63.6 per cent - were women, which is comparable to the University student body's gender composition.

Before the survey kicked off, KSU’s social policy commission had agreed that the results would reflect the council’s position on behalf of all University of Malta student representatives and students.

A public consultation session was also held before the survey was issued and distributed to all students via email.

Eventually, the Social Policy Office met up with Prof. Liberato Camilleri to analyse the results via SPSS and prepare the report.

Respondents answered using a web-based questionnaire. Researchers estimated a 3.5 per cent margin of error assuming a 95 per cent confidence level. 

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