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How to get an abortion in Malta:
Information on abortion pills, abortion clinics, and how to get help.

 

Introduction

If you have an unwanted pregnancy and have decided to have an abortion, you will want accurate and unbiased information on abortion and how to get an abortion done. This comprehensive guide was written by Maltese pro-choice volunteers to help women in Malta get such information and help them get their abortion done in a safe way. As the World Health Organisation says, banning abortion does not stop it, but it only makes it less safe for women. Abortion can help women regain control of their lives and futures, and should be accessible to all.

Until politicians in Malta finally change the law to allow safe, legal abortion to happen in Malta, we will continue providing women and girls with information on how to access safe abortions. If you do not like the status quo and want to contribute to changing Malta's archaic laws, be sure to bring up the issue of reproductive rights whenever you talk to politicians, raise your voice in favour of women's rights, and consider helping Maltese pro-choice organisations in their mission. Even if you are not seeking an abortion today, you or your loved one may need the service tomorrow.

To navigate this guide, use the menu at the top, or the table of contents above. The guide is written over four pages, and you can scroll between them by clicking the links at the bottom of the page.

Abortion Law

Abortion is illegal in Malta because of a law dating back to the 19th century that no government has decided to amend so far. The Criminal Code of Malta (criminal law) still says the following:

 

Article 241 (1) Whosoever, by any food, drink, medicine, or by violence, or by any other means whatsoever, shall cause the miscarriage of any woman with child, whether the woman be consenting or not, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to three years.

Article 241 (2) The same punishment shall be awarded against any woman who shall procure her own miscarriage, or who shall have consented to the use of the means by which the miscarriage is procured.’

Because of this law, women who have an abortion in Malta and doctors who perform an abortion in Malta may be charged in court. There are no exceptions to this law, which means if you are in Malta you cannot request an abortion for any reason – not even in cases of rape or other sexual crime, or cases where the baby will not survive after birth (known as fatal fetal anomaly). This makes Malta's law on abortion the strictest in the EU.

 

Women should be cautious when ordering and using abortion pills in Malta. You may want to cover your tracks, like using a temporary email address when ordering pills or deleting all conversations after you are done, and disposing carefully of all abortion pill packaging after use. Only tell people you trust that you are having an abortion with pills, and cover your phone conversations from people who you do not want to find out about your abortion.

Enforcement of abortion law is rare. Despite the illegal status of abortion in Malta, hundreds of women in Malta end their pregnancy each year, and many do so by taking abortion pills in Malta. No woman has been taken to court for having an abortion in the last five years, and no woman has been imprisoned for having an abortion in the last twenty five years at least.

 
 

I need an abortion - what are my options?

The abortion options and methods available to you will depend on your stage of pregnancy. When calculating how many weeks pregnant you are, make sure to count from the first day of your last period. If you are more than 7 weeks pregnant you could have an ultrasound to accurately find out how far along you are. The two main ways women in Malta have abortions are by ordering abortion pills which arrive by post and take them at their home in Malta, or by travelling to abortion clinics abroad to have a surgical abortion.

Abortion with pills, also known as medical abortion, can safely be carried out at home up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is according to guidance by the World Health Organisation. Beyond 12 weeks the risk of complications increases and the use of abortion pills at home is no longer recommended. Since abortion is illegal in Malta you cannot have abortion pills prescribed by a doctor in Malta. However, there are organisations abroad that can provide you with abortion pills. They usually ask for a donation between 75 and 100 Euro and send the pills to you in Malta via express mail.

A surgical abortion is performed in a clinic using instruments to gently remove the pregnancy from your uterus and is performed from around 8 weeks of pregnancy onwards (the exact point at which surgical abortion is offered varies from clinic to clinic). Up to 14 weeks of pregnancy this is done using a simple cannula and suction (called vacuum aspiration) and is usually completed in a few minutes. It can be done under local anaesthetic or by using a mild sedative. When having a vacuum aspiration you can expect to be at the clinic for 3 to 4 hours. the clinic costs for this procedure are usually in the region of 800 Euro.

 

Beyond 14 weeks, a surgical abortion is performed by dilating the cervix and removing the contents of the uterus with forceps and suction (called dilation and evacuation). This is a more complex procedure that is done under a general anaesthetic. If you are having a dilation and evacuation you will need to be at the clinic for a whole day. You may also be kept overnight for observation. The clinic costs for dilation and evacuation are significantly higher than vacuum aspiration, and are usually in the region of 1,500 to 2,000 Euro.

If you wish to travel for an abortion but cannot afford the costs, Abortion Support Network may be able to help you.

The following table summarises the abortion options available to according to your stage of pregnancy.

Stage of Pregnancy EN

You can also use this interactive application to find the abortion options available at your stage of pregnancy.

Your usual GP in Malta may be reluctant to discuss abortion options with you because of the illegal status of abortion in Malta. To discuss your abortion options you can either book a private appointment with a GP or a gynaecologist who is known to be pro-choice, or you can contact the Family Planning Advisory Service (FPAS).

FPAS is a non-profit information giving service by pro-choice volunteers in Malta. FPAS can give you unbiased information on abortion and refer you to other pro-choice services or clinicians. You can contact FPAS by calling 27780037 or by chatting on www.fpas.mt.