Women’s rights activists say women still find it difficult to access the morning-after pill
Access to the morning-after pill remains problematic for women – especially on Sundays when not all pharmacies are open, according to women’s rights activists.
The problem stems from the refusal of some pharmacists to stock and sell the emergency contraceptive because they have moral objections to the pill.
A recent undertaking by newspaper Illum showed that 70% of pharmacies contacted by the newspaper sold the morning-after pill. However, it also confirmed that three in 10 pharmacies were refusing to stock the pill. . . . [Full Text]
The Chamber of Pharmacists (Kamra tal-Ispizjara) has sent an email to
its members stating that there is a standard question protocol that
pharmacists must follow when dispensing the Morning After Pill without a
These guidelines, the email said, are professional tools and should be kept confidential.
The Chamber also noted that pharmacists should avoid engaging in public discussions on social media. “The Chamber reprimands pharmacists who do not uphold such standards bringing the profession to disrepute.” [Full text]
Some are refusing to sell emergency contraception
Times of Malta
A number of individual pharmacists are refusing to dispense the morning-after pill on moral grounds, it has emerged, even though the emergency contraceptive is stocked in the pharmacies where they work.
The pharmacists are either directing customers to other pharmacies where they will not have a problem purchasing the pill or else telling them to return to the same pharmacy another time when another “sympathetic” pharmacist will be on duty.
Malta Chamber of Pharmacists president Mary Ann Sant Fournier told The Sunday Times of Malta that like other independent healthcare professionals, pharmacists “have a right to conscientious objection”. . .[Full text]
In Italy, conscientious objectors make it difficult to have an abortion
On the books, abortion in Italy is legal. In practice, it is out of reach for many women.
An unprecedented wave of so-called conscientious objectors — doctors declining to perform abortions for personal or religious reasons — is sweeping the country. Today, 70 percent of Italian gynecologists and 48.4 percent of anesthesiologists decline to perform terminations, according to a report from the Italian health ministry presented in December.
In more conservative regions such as Sicily and Campania, as much as 84 percent of doctors object to abortion. That leaves a tiny group of abortion providers to deal with a huge demand for terminations. . . [Full text]
Authority set to issue guidelines
Times of Malta
As “independent healthcare professionals”, pharmacists had every right to refuse to sell the morning-after pill if it went against their moral beliefs, Malta Chamber of Pharmacists president Mary Ann Sant Fournier said yesterday.
Ms Sant Fournier’s comments came in the wake of a decision by the Medicines Authority that the contraceptive could be sold over the counter.
“One must emphasise the status that pharmacists enjoy as independent healthcare professionals and their right to conscientious objection should be upheld at all times,” Ms Sant Fournier said when contacted. . . [Full text]
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council that accuses Malta of violating the Convention Against Torture and other alleged obligations because Maltese law prohibits abortion. The ICJ describes itself as “60 eminent judges and lawyers from all regions of the world” that “promotes and protects human rights through the Rule of Law, by using its unique legal expertise to develop and strengthen national and international justice systems.” The same general claim was made this month by the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.