Malta, a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, has the strongest protections for the unborn in all of Europe and is the only European Union nation to outlaw abortion. However, the small nation’s strong stance in defense of life has not been without challenge. Recently Malta faced a large-scale international push to legalize abortion following the case of Andrea Prudente. Andrea, a tourist from America, was admitted to a hospital in Malta at 16 weeks gestation following the pre-labor rupture of her membranes.
Doctors immediately began to monitor the pair, making sure that the mother’s life was not at risk. Pre-labor rupture is a significant medical complication, especially at 16 weeks gestation. However, it is possible for the mother to be treated and the child to survive. In fact, according to Dr. Miriam Sciberras there was a similar case at the time where both mother and child were treated and survived. Notably Malta has maintained a zero percent maternal mortality rate for over a decade. Unfortunately, Andrea decided to be airlifted to Spain to abort her baby.
Once the news broke, this case drew international attention resulting in a surge of pro-abortion messaging. International publications drafted articles attempting to cast doubt on the pro-life laws in the nation. One such article from the BBC was titled “Malta: The only EU Country Where Abortion is Illegal Leaves Women Scared.” Likewise, the Guardian published an article titled “Women are treated like walking incubators: Malta’s fight for abortion.” Others like the Atlantic wrote in praise of the pro-abortion movement with an article titled “Malta’s Fledgling Movement for Abortion Rights” where they glorify the small number of abortion advocates in the country. Malta was portrayed as backwards and radical, a place with scary and harmful laws that endanger women.
A remarkably familiar playbook was on display. Advocates of abortion took the case of Andrea Prudente and ran with it. This was their opportunity to weaponize an extreme situation to pull on the heart strings of the international community and pressure Maltese officials to cave. The objective was to knock down the strongest defender of life in Europe. Initially it looked as if the strategy would be successful as Malta’s government announced that they would review their abortion laws. An update was proposed to allow for abortions if medical complications “may” threaten a woman’s health. Similar legislation has been passed in other countries, at times with the intention of limiting abortion. However, rather than limiting abortion, it becomes a loophole, a foot in the door that gives way to more abortions. Remember, Malta has maintained a zero percent maternal mortality rate for over a decade. Their pro-life laws have been successfully protecting both mothers and babies.
This “health” provision loophole was identified for what it truly was, and the pro-life community mobilized. An all-hands-on deck approach became the deciding factor as Church leaders, local organizers, government officials, and like-minded experts stood firm in defense of life.
The Catholic Church, which maintains considerable influence in Malta, delivered sermons across the island and distributed papers addressing the topic with parliamentarians. In addition, subject matter experts drafted papers defending the nation’s pro-life laws which were published. The combined efforts of pro-lifers’ in Malta resulted in an historic protest defending life. This was a well-organized, and highly coordinated effort. Everyone played their part.
The story concluded with Malta remaining fiercely pro-life. The abortionist’s grand plan to weaponize an extreme situation to open the door to abortions in the country failed. The legislation that was eventually passed was pro-life and left abortionists furious.
This provides us with an excellent case study. We can learn from the success of the pro-life community in Malta and implement the same blueprint that they used to defend life.
All over the world the abortionists attempt to do the same thing that they tried in Malta, and often with remarkable success. They take a rare, and extreme case and try to apply that with a broad brush to justify all instances of abortion. We must realize the same truth that our peers in Malta did. These extreme examples are a powerful tool of the abortionists that must be met directly. Only a strong and unified opposition can repel their attempts.
Abortionists in the United States often employ this strategy. They will run toward tragic, heart breaking scenarios of rape, incest, or fetal abnormality and attempt to use that as their justification for all abortion. The truth is that they show no empathy toward the women who endure these tragic circumstances. Instead, they view them as nothing more than a pawn, a tremendous opportunity to push their agenda. They pounce on the opportunity to weaponize this trauma of victims of rape or incest. They point toward birth defects or fetal abnormalities and claim moral superiority as they advocate for eugenics. These emotional appeals are not only irrational, but they are insulting.
The pro-life community cannot shy away from these hard topics. If we do, we will give the abortionists a monopoly on the conversation. Often, we face a powerful coalition including government officials, media outlets, and celebrities that join forces to push the pro-abortion narrative. They will dominate headlines and frame the national discussion as we sit on the sidelines hoping to avoid the hard topics. We need to follow the Malta blueprint. Our churches must speak up now more than ever. Many churches are courageous and fight hard to save the unborn, but others have remained silent. If we hope to defend life, we all must be in the fight. Our elected officials must have the courage to not only speak up in defense of life, but to put their actions where their mouth is and pass meaningful legislation protecting the unborn while rejecting legislation that supports abortion. Medical experts and embryologists must have the courage to do what they did in Malta and educate the public on the truth that abortion ends an innocent human life.
The lessons learned from the Malta blueprint can be put to immediate use. In states like Ohio and Arizona there are fierce battles for life playing out in real time. Both states are on the brink of changing their constitutions to secure a so-called “right” to abortion which would nullify any existing pro-life laws. In Ohio the amendment is so egregious that it threatens parental rights by allowing minor children to get abortions without their parents’ notification or consent. It would also remove legislative safeguards that are in place to protect women. Currently in Ohio, abortionists must explain to women what the risks of abortion are and ensure ready access to a hospital transfer if necessary. The constitutional amendment would also allow abortions until birth due to language allowing for “emotional wellbeing” to justify late-term abortions. This opens a significant, and intentional, loophole that would allow for late-term abortions so long as the woman can convince an abortion supporting physician that her “mental wellbeing” is at risk due to her pregnancy.
Pro-abortion media is trying to implement the same strategy here as they did in Malta. As voting day gets closer, count on predictable headlines in support of abortion. Many will try to rationalize the unthinkable. However, their agenda of death can be defeated. Strong coalitions of pro-life advocates must stand firm in defense of life. As hard as the abortionists fight to take life, we must fight even harder to defend it. Religious leaders, political leaders, community organizers, and medical professionals alike must stand in the gap defending life. Thankfully we can see the foundations of this happening. The Catholic Church has already donated $900,000 to stop the Ohio abortion amendment. Pro-life organizations like Life Issues Institute and others are turning our attention to stopping this amendment. Much like in Malta, this will take an all-hands-on-deck turn out, but together with your help we can win this fight.
Education and awareness are key. Influential community leaders and politicians will be an essential pillar in stopping this pro-abortion amendment. We will need to tackle this issue head on and from every angle.
We have the pieces of the puzzle. Now we simply need to put them together. There have been tremendous wins for life in recent years, but the battle is far from over. Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, we have fifty individual battles as well as the federal battle to fight. We have the blueprint, all that is left is for each of us to execute it. Visit Lifeissues.org to find tools to equip yourself to join the battle. You can also learn how to get your local church involved in the fight at Lifeissues.org.