Abortion rights activists filed a legal protest in Malta’s courts last week, demanding the legalization of abortion in the only European Union member where the procedure is criminalized.
Newsroom (26/06/2022 7:30 PM Gaudium Press) The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatovic, said in report that “unimpeded access to sexual and reproductive health care” is necessary for “a woman’s right to health and her right to be free from discrimination,” “Malta’s blanket ban on abortions puts these rights at significant risk,” she said.
Toting banners reading “I decide,” “Abortion is a woman’s right,” and “Abortion is health care, not a crime,” the activists protested on the steps of Valletta’s legal courts after filing the complaint.
The petition by the Women’s Rights Foundation names the Maltese health minister, parliament’s secretary for equality and reforms and the state advocate in asserting that the country’s absolute ban on abortion violates the fundamental human rights of Maltese women of child-bearing age.
The filing doesn’t automatically lead to a court case, but the Women’s Rights Foundation filed a judicial protest six years ago as part of an ultimately successful campaign to legalize emergency contraception in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
The activists said Wednesday that if there is no response to their initial judicial protest, they would launch a court case and would be prepared to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. Their case has been bolstered since the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner recently found that Malta’s blanket abortion ban puts the rights of its women “at significant risk.”
The Council of Europe was founded by ten nations in 1949, in the wake of World War II, to promote human rights and democracy; one of its principal organizers was the anti-Fascist and devoutly Catholic Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi. A decade later, the Council established the European Court of Human Rights. Today, the Council has 46 member states.
Compiled by Raju Hasmukh