Monument for the unborn child on a main road between Mosta and Naxxar
Monument for the unborn child on a main road between Mosta and Naxxar

Abortion in Malta is illegal, although rarely prosecuted.[1] Malta has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world[2] and is the only country in the European Union to prohibit abortion entirely.[3] Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is allowed with a case-by-case decision.[4]

Criminal code

The Criminal Code states:[5]

"(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 18 months to three years"; and

"(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."

In 2005 Tonio Borg, a Maltese politician, sought to amend the constitution to completely ban abortion.[6]


It is estimated that anywhere between 300 and 400 Maltese women travel abroad to have abortions each year, mostly to the UK (about 60 per year) and Italy, with Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium being some of the other destinations as well.[7] This estimate means that Maltese women have abortions about as often as the EU average, despite Malta being the only EU country which bans the procedure (the rate for Malta is between 3.6 and 4.7 per thousand women; the EU average is 4.4).[7]

Decriminalization proposals

On 12 May 2021, Maltese independent MP Marlene Farrugia made the country's first ever legislative proposal to decriminalize abortion, arguing "We all know that safeguarding women’s rights does not come through the threat of putting them in prison". Farrugia's proposal would strike out three articles in Malta's criminal code and replace them by a law punishing forced abortion with ten years imprisonment.[1][8]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Malta MP tables historic bill to decriminalise abortion". 13 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  2. ^ Caruana-Finkel, Liza (2020). "Abortion in the time of COVID-19: perspectives from Malta". Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters. 28 (1): 1780679. doi:10.1080/26410397.2020.1780679.
  3. ^ "Malta now only EU country apart from Northern Ireland without life-saving abortion law". Malta Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "What does the law actually say?". Malta Humanist Association. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  6. ^ "Plans for abortion law to be entrenched in Constitution". Times of Malta. May 7, 2005.
  7. ^ a b "300 to 400 Maltese Women Go Abroad For An Abortion Each Year". Times of Malta. February 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "MP Marlene Farrugia presents bill to decriminalise abortion". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2021-05-12.