Being the Second Sex in Malta: Experiences of Pro-Choice Women in a Country Dominated by Catholic Teachings

Clara Qvist-Richards, Cecilie Nilherth Rasmussen & Luna María Ziirsen-Aineto

Studenteropgave: Bachelorprojekt


This paper aims to shed a light on how the restrictions on reproductive rights in the island country of Malta affects Maltese pro-choice wom; in relation to this paper investigates how the Catholic Church stigmatizes abortion and oppress women through the process of gendered Otherness.
The choice of Malta as a focus for investigation is based on the interest in the fact, that the country has the strictest abortion laws in all of Europe, being illegal under all circumstances.
Insight into the female experiences of these restrictions are gained through four semi-structured, qualitative interviews and one email interview with Maltese, pro-choice women. The research paper “Sexual Morality and Shame Among Catholics Whose Lifestyle Does not Conform to Church Teachings” by Angele Deguara is used as an analytical tool to dissect how the informants experience the stigmatization and shaming of sexual morality issues that do not conform to social codes and teachings of the Catholic Church. Additionally, feminist theory in form of “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir is employed to examine how the Catholic Church is enforcing femininity roles on women and indoctrinating them to be the Other.
Furthermore to draw in the perspectives from the other position of the reproductive right debates, document analysis is used on abortion discourse found on official pro-life websites.
Through analysis, different categorized findings are derived from the interviews, including the informants experiences with abortion being a taboo, indoctrination and Otherness by the ecclesial institution. Following the analysis it can be concluded that Catholic presence in Malta is a dominating agent in enforcing abortion laws, gendered Otherness and stigmatization of sexual morality issues.
The findings of this paper opens up for discussions about how the pro-life movement views women, conditions for liberalization of abortion and female agency in a country dominated by Catholicism.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato27 maj 2019
Antal sider57
VejledereAnne Brædder


  • feminist theory
  • abortion
  • Malta
  • otherness
  • stigmatization