BET À DAY
An American woman fears for her life after being refused an abortion in Malta, whose laws are draconian on the subject, while her baby is condemned, a relative and an NGO said on Wednesday.< /strong>
“She's terrified,” Jay Weeldreyer told AFP by phone from the hospital where his partner Andrea Prudente was admitted. “It feels like a cruel and bizarre punishment is inflicted on an innocent woman.”
The couple were on holiday in Malta when Ms Prudente went to hospital with heavy bleeding during her 16th week of pregnancy. The baby was fine, but her water broke a day or two later.
Further tests showed that the placenta had partially separated from the uterus, but the baby's heart was still beating , according to Mr. Weeldreyer.
They were instructed to return 48 hours later. A third ultrasound then confirmed that “the fluid is gone, the baby (…) is not going to survive”, even if his heart was still beating, continued Mr. Weeldreyer.
Because of Malta's total abortion ban, doctors are not going to intervene, he said. This was confirmed by an NGO which made the case public, Doctors for Choice.
And since then, the couple have been waiting.
“They are waiting for the heartbeat to s stop, they are waiting for Andrea to have a miscarriage, or they are waiting for her to have an infection that will put her life in danger”, deplores Mr. Weeldreyer, for whom the doctors “play a coin toss with the life of the mother”.
Their insurance company attempted to evacuate them from Malta, but the risk of miscarriage and in-flight complications put off all carriers.
Mostly Catholic, Malta is the only country in the European Union outlaw abortion altogether, even when the fetus has no chance of surviving.
Natalie Psaila of Doctors for Choice confirmed the couple's story that the fetus had “no chance of survival” and that “this situation is very dangerous” for the mother.
“If her condition worsens, the doctor should consider breaking the law (risking four years in prison) and terminating to pregnancy”, according to Ms Psaila, for whom this legislative situation “cannot last any longer”.
The Maltese government has not commented.
The NGO fears the repetition of a tragedy that occurred in Ireland in 2012: Savita Halappanavar, 31, died of an infection after being refused a medical abortion following a false and layer. His death shocked public opinion and led to a change in the law.