The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
View E-Paper

With local hands tied, US woman will be airlifted to Spain to terminate unviable pregnancy

Thursday, 23 June 2022, 13:15 Last update: about 3 years ago

An American woman who was left fearing for her life after her request to abort her pregnancy after a suspected miscarriage was refused by health authorities will be airlifted to Spain where the procedure will be carried out.

Lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic confirmed to sections of the media that Andrea Prudente and her partner Jay Weeldreyer’s travel insurance had accepted to evacuate the couple to Spain, via air ambulance because the situation that Prudente has found herself in can be classified as “life threatening.”

The medical evacuation could take place as soon as Thursday.

Prudente has been in Mater Dei Hospital for over a week after suffering from heavy bleeding and broken waters having been pregnant for 16 weeks. An ultrasound showed ruptured membranes (broken waters) and a detaching placenta. However, the fetus still had a heartbeat.

“International obstetric guidelines state that in such cases where the fetus is not yet viable (before 24 weeks), termination of pregnancy (ie: abortion) should be offered to avoid the risk of maternal infection and death. Infection can go through the ruptured membranes, into the uterus, then into the blood leading to death,” the NGO Doctors for Choice, which first brought the case to light, had said.

However, Prudente was refused a termination and was told by doctors that they could only intervene if she is in imminent danger of death – meaning that the American woman was left waiting for the fetus to die naturally, while also risking getting a potentially fatal infection herself.

The termination was not offered in Malta because of the country’s strict anti-abortion rules:  Malta is the only country in the EU and one of very few in the world which has a total ban on abortion in all circumstances.

The case has made international headlines since it was first reported on Wednesday.

It has prompted pro-choice campaigners to again call for the decriminalisation of abortion, but those from the pro-life lobby have said that doctors already have a legal and ethical obligation to do all they can to save the life of the mother irrespective of the consequences to the unborn child.

Neither the Health Ministry nor Mater Dei Hospital have commented on the case thus far.

  • don't miss