A medical team of 3 must agree upon the procedure, which may only occur in a licensed clinic.
Furthermore, a medical team will decide on the abortion and must agree upon the procedure, which may only occur in a licensed clinic.
That team would be composed of two gynaecologists or obstetricians, one of who will be the professional to perform the termination, and a third specialist on health issue affecting the woman.
However, president of the Labour Party Ramona Attard and parliamentary secretary Rebecca Buttigieg, explained that in cases where there is immediate danger to the woman’s life, three signatures would not be needed.
The draft law also introduces the concept of foetus viability, which is defined as “the point in a pregnancy at which the foetus is capable of living outside the uterus according to current medical practices”.
If current medical practice deems the foetus to be viable, doctors will first have to deliver the baby before any medical intervention is carried out to treat the woman.
“For the first time, this amendment will provide professionals trying to safeguard the life of a woman who is experiencing complications during her pregnancy the peace of mind that they are not at risk of going to prison and that the law covers their work”, said Buttigieg.
Malta is the only EU country where abortion was illegal in all circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest and where the mother’s life is in danger.
It is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison to have the procedure or up to four years to assist a woman in having an abortion.
After some incidents that put the life of two women at risk, the Maltese labour party proposed amendments allowing life-saving procedures to be carried out when the mother’s health is at serious risk.
Those amendments were approved at second reading stage in parliament last December, and the government then had several discussions with different stakeholders to know their point of view, which led to the current decision of the parliament.
The draft law as revised is expected to be approved by parliament in the coming weeks.