American tourist airlifted from Malta to Spain for ‘lifesaving’ abortion


Southern Europe


Maltese hospital where the American tourist was admitted. Photo Facebook

An American tourist who stayed in Malta had to be airlifted by an ambulance helicopter to undergo an abortion in Spain. Her pregnancy threatened her health, but Malta's strict abortion laws did not allow her to terminate her pregnancy.

During her holiday, the American woman, Andrea Prudente, lost her amniotic fluid prematurely because of the rupturing of the membranes of her womb. As a result, her placenta also partially detached, Malta Today reports. Even though the unborn child was still alive, doctors estimated its chance of survival to be nihil.

Yet, doctors at the Mater Dei hospital refused to perform an abortion, even though Prudente's health was threatened by her condition. Terminating a pregnancy is illegal under all circumstances in Malta, which has the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Abortion would be only possible when the baby would lose its heartbeat or when Prudente would go into labour, Malta Today reports. Maltese doctors refused to provide Prudente with a travel certificate to get an abortion elsewhere. However, her travel agency was able to arrange a flight for her to the Spanish island Mallorca. There, the American woman can undergo an abortion. That is reported by the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.


The Maltese refusal to perform an abortion on Prudente caused much upheaval. "We are dumbfounded that the staff only attempted to prolong the heartbeat of a baby that will not survive", Prudente's partner, Jay Weeldreyer, said to Malta Today. He added that he and his partner have been traumatised by the daily monitoring of the heartbeat of the foetus. "I cannot understand: there is only one person who will walk out of this hospital alive, and it is my partner. Why are they putting my lost daughter, who has no hope of being saved, above my partner?"

More than 60 doctors will file a judicial protest against Malta's strict abortion law. They will ask for legal changes so that doctors can perform an abortion when this serves the mother's interest, Isabel Stabile said to Malta Today. Stabile is a gynaecologist and a member of the organisation Doctors for Change, which propagates a pro-choice stance.



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