ROME ( Associated Press) – A pregnant American woman who suffered an incomplete miscarriage while on holiday in Malta will be taken by plane to a Spanish island on Thursday for a procedure to prevent infection because Maltese law abortion under prohibit any circumstances, the woman’s partner said.
Jay Weeldreyer told The Associated Press by phone from a hospital in the island nation that his partner, Andrea Prudente, runs the risk of a life-threatening infection if the fetal tissue is not removed immediately.
Prudente, 38, experienced heavy bleeding on June 12, followed by a premature rupture of the amniotic sac and the separation of the placenta, according to Weeldreyer, 45. While the hospital closely monitors her for any sign of infection, the facility is unable to perform. the operation to complete the miscarriage, he said.
Malta is the only member of the European Union that bans abortions for any reason.
The Mater Dei Hospital, where Prudente is being treated, has been contacted by the Associated Press and said it is not allowed to release patient information due to privacy regulations.
“The miscarriage is 80% complete,” Weeldreyer said. “Her water was broken, the placenta separated, but due to a (fetal) heartbeat,” the fetus could not be removed, he said.
In separate comments to other news outlets, the couple described the placenta as partially detached.
The couple from Issaquah, Washington, a town near Seattle, arrived in Malta on June 5 for a long-awaited vacation. Prudente started bleeding and was admitted to hospital a week later, her partner said. He indicated she was 16 weeks pregnant when the bleeding started.
Along with concerns about the risk of infection, the two fear that Prudente could resume bleeding during the medical evacuation flight they arranged for Thursday night to take them to Mallorca.
Like Malta, Mallorca is an island in the Mediterranean. Originally, the couple aimed for a medical evacuation to Britain, but were told it was too risky to fly the longer distance.
According to their plans, an ambulance will take Prudente to Malta’s airport. After the flight arrives in Mallorca, another ambulance will take her to a hospital which told the couple it could provide the care she needs.
Under Spanish law, abortion is allowed on request through the 14th week of pregnancy and until the 22nd week when a woman’s life or health is in danger.
Malta’s Mater Dei Hospital “has done a good job in the area of what they are allowed to do” under that country’s legislation, Weeldreyer said. His partner is receiving antibiotics and is being closely monitored for signs of infection, he said.
The Women’s Rights Foundation in Malta last week filed a legal protest in court demanding the legalization of abortion in the small island nation.
Attorney Lara Dimitrijevic, an activist at the foundation, said abortion rights supporters in Malta were keeping a close eye on the situation in the United States. Some states have enacted laws that severely restrict or prohibit abortion that can be caused if the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade, reversing the 1973 ruling that recognized an individual’s right to choose abortion.
“We (in Malta) could not be worse, because we have a total ban, but we are starting to see situations like in Poland and now America, where there is a reversal of laws, a stripping of women’s own bodily autonomy. “It’s heartbreaking,” Dimitrijevic said in a telephone interview.
Poland, like Malta, a traditionally Catholic country, tightened its abortion law in 2020.
The lawyer described the couple in Washington state as “very brave to go public with this.” Since their case was reported in Maltese media, “more women are coming forward to talk about their experience or that of family members.”
Dimitrijevic added that women in Malta two or three times a year found themselves in similar life-threatening situations before a fetus became viable.
On Wednesday, an anti-abortion group in Malta, Doctors for Life, issued a statement on the Prudente case, saying they “firmly believe that the mother’s life should always be protected.”
It said that in similar cases “careful assessment is made to determine the severity of the condition” and that if severe bleeding or infection occurs, “the uterus is always evacuated” after consultation with two experts.
If delivery is deemed necessary, “then it is done even if the fetus is too young to survive outside the womb,” said the organization, which defends Malta’s abortion policy.
Earlier this year, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner said Malta’s general ban on abortion puts women’s rights at “significant risk” and urged the country’s authorities to repeal provisions that make abortion a crime.
Barry Hatton contributed from Lisbon, Portugal.