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MALTATODAY 31 July 2022

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8 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 31 JULY 2022 KURT SANSONE MALTATODAY SURVEY KURT SANSONE ANTI-ABORTION sentiment still runs high in Malta with 61.8% totally against, a Malta- Today survey shows but it also points towards shifting attitudes, especially among the young. The survey shows that 27.8% of people are in favour of abor- tion in particular cases, while a further 8.3% agree with abortion whatever the situation. The survey did not ask people to define what 'particular cases' they find acceptable but a simi- lar question asked in a more de- tailed survey on abortion in 2019 found that only 9.2% agreed with termination of pregnancy in the first three months in 'particular circumstances'. This represents a 19-point increase in three years. The latest survey was carried out between 6 July and 14 July in the aftermath of the Andrea Pru- dente case that recast the spot- light on Malta's strict anti-abor- tion law. Prudente, an American tour- ist on holiday in Malta, started miscarrying 16 weeks into her pregnancy but was denied an abortion because the foetus still had a heartbeat despite doctors telling her the pregnancy was no longer viable. Prudente received medical care to avoid the risk of sepsis until she was eventually airlifted to Spain where the preg- nancy was terminated. It appears that this case may have moved public opinion on the risks pregnant women may face as a result of the complete ban on abortion. Young support abortion in some way or another The July survey shows that there is an absolute majority in favour of abortion – whether unconditional or depending on the case – among younger peo- ple aged between 16 and 35. Within this age group, 32.6% are against abortion in all cir- cumstances, while 40.4% are in favour in particular cases. How- ever, a quarter of people in this age cohort (25.5%) are in favour of abortion with no ifs and buts – the largest segment across all age groups. This is the only age group where an absolute majority (65.9%) are in favour of abortion in some way or other. Outright opposition to abor- tion surpasses the 60% mark among those aged between 36 and 50, and continues to increase in older age groups. As expected, the strongest opposition to abor- tion is among pensioners, where 85.5% are against. And it seems the higher a per- son's education attainment is, the more likely they are to accept abortion in some way or anoth- er. In fact, an absolute majority among those with a post-sec- ondary and tertiary education, favour abortion in varying de- grees. Among people with a post-sec- ondary education, 48.2% are against abortion in all circum- stances but 40.6% are in favour in some cases and 8.9% agree with abortion outright. At tertiary level, 44.2% are against, 33.3% are in favour in some cases and 21.8% agree with abortion outright. Opposition to abortion is abso- lute across all regions, with the highest being in the Western region where 74.2% are against. The Western region is also the one with lowest support for abortion (4.2%) or abortion in some cases (19.8%). The second highest opposition to abortion is found in Gozo with 68.9% but it is also home to the second highest cohort of people in favour of abortion with no conditions (11.5%).The Northern region has the high- est support for unconditional abortion with 13.6%, while in the highest level of support for abortion 'in some cases' is found in the Southern Harbour region, where 33% agree. Labourites, non-voters more fa- vourable to abortion And support for abortion does vary depending on political al- legiance. The survey shows that although an absolute majority of voters of the two major parties are against abortion, Labourites adopt a more favourable ap- proach. From those who voted for the PL in the March general elec- tion, 59.4% are against abortion with no exception. However, 29.6% agree with abortion in some cases and 8% just simply agree with the right to terminate a pregnancy. PN voters adopt a more con- servative approach with 77.1% against and only 3% in favour. However, 19.8% of PN voters agree with abortion in particular cases. The 60,000 voters who did not vote in March, or who spoilt their ballot, are more pro-abor- tion. Within this cohort of vot- ers, 41% are against abortion, 38.6% are in favour depending on circumstances, and 15.9% agree with abortion outright. Methodology The survey was carried out between Wednesday 6 July and Thursday 14 July 2022. 652 re- spondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sam- pling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate the Maltese demographic. The esti- mated margin of error is 4.2% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results.Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error. Anti-abortion nation but opinion is shifting It appears that the Prudent case may have moved public opinion on the risks pregnant women may face as a result of the complete ban on abortion

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