Dear Decision Makers, The women whose heart-wrenching stories you are about to read, are not numbers. They are not statistics, or “one in a million” cases. They are not “murderers” or “immoral”. They are real people. They have names. They are human beings in their own right, who, regardless of their relation to others, deserve access to healthcare. When you read their stories, do not read them in isolation of their socially and legally constructed predicament. These stories, undoubtedly, are a direct consequence of Malta’s blanket ban on abortion. They are a result of your complacency and complicity. In this country, the human right to bodily autonomy is lost the moment a person becomes pregnant. Despite being a living, fully actualised human-being, it is not uncommon for such individuals to be treated as lesser than their own pregnancies. Through these stories, allow yourself to be immersed by their experiences. Understand the gravity of your actions, or lack thereof. Lawmakers have a responsibility to protect and ensure the wellbeing of citizens in Malta. Their role does not exist to vilify and abandon women in vulnerable positions for political gain. When you read their stories, understand that for every day abortion remains criminalised, you continue to fail them. Additionally, remember to be kind; these stories were not shared out of a desire to recount their experiences, but for the sake of ensuring that no other person will have to endure the same suffering. For that, we are grateful and indebted to them. Do not separate your responsibility from these stories: take in every word, and hold yourself accountable. Use this link to access the stories: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PwoVcw0m4nIvLv3CP1Q8O6vn3bVlYb8C/view?usp=sharing Signed, Laura Paris & Emily Galea
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