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Doctors Hold US Couple Hostage, Rules Out Abortion, And Bar Them From Traveling

Family & Relationship

Doctors Hold US Couple Hostage, Rules Out Abortion, And Bar Them From Traveling

A US couple that suffered a miscarriage while holidaying in Malta says they are being held “hostage” in Mater Dei after local doctors won’t allow them to travel to the UK for an abortion.

The couple, 38-year-old Andrea Prudente and her partner 45-year-old Jay Weeldreyer have been in Mater Dei Hospital for around a week after being informed that the pregnancy will not be a success. Prudente was 16 weeks pregnant.

However, since a foetal heartbeat is still being detected, and Maltese doctors say Prudente’s life is not at risk, they are not signing off on papers that would allow her to travel abroad under medical evacuation to have an abortion performed.

A medical certificate would be needed for such a flight – and to make matters worse, the couple were told they couldn’t board commercial flights as the air pressure itself may induce labour and complications and even be fatal.

“We are stuck… we chose Malta because it was safe and had good health care and now we are held hostage to this situation,” Weeldreyer told Times of Malta. “We came to Malta on a babymoon. We certainly did not come for an abortion but here we are talking about saving a woman’s life.”

Weeldryer said that hearing the heartbeat gives him hope, but that the current situation was an “obstacle” to his partner’s survival.

“We wanted this baby. On the one hand hearing, the heartbeat comes with the hope that we will be able to hold our baby girl. But that heartbeat is also an obstacle to my partner’s health,” he said.

“My partner is physically stable. But all this is very challenging for our mental health. She has been getting antibiotic shots to avoid infection, and her blood is checked regularly. But the cruelest part is the regular ultrasounds where we keep hearing our baby’s heartbeat. It’s emotionally distressing,” Weeldreyer says.

The couple wanted to travel after two years of no trips abroad due to the ongoing pandemic; however, now they are at rwit’s end as to what to do.

A protest has been called for this evening outside Valletta’s Parliament today at 5.30 pm to highlight the couple’s situation. The protest is being organized by Young Progressive Beings.

“Regardless of whether the patient at risk is airlifted to the United Kingdom, we believe it is of utmost importance to protest against the unnecessary and dangerous process caused by Malta’s criminalization of abortion. For this reason, we will be meeting outside Parliament for a demonstration,” the group said.

The Women’s Rights Foundation said that Malta was not following international guidelines when it comes to offering abortion, urging that something is done to avoid a tragedy similar to what happened to Savita in 2012 in Ireland, who died of a blood infection after Irish doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy in similar circumstances.

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