U.S. woman cleared to leave Malta after being refused abortion

Demonstration against Malta's total ban on abortion outside Parliament House in Valletta
People demonstrate against Malta's total ban on abortion outside Parliament House in Valletta, Malta, June 22, 2022. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

VALLETTA, June 23 (Reuters) - An American woman who was denied a request for abortion in Malta after suffering the symptoms of a miscarriage, has been allowed to travel to Spain to terminate her pregnancy there, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Andrea Prudente, 38, who is 16 weeks pregnant, was on holiday in Malta with her partner Jay Weeldreyer when she started to miscarry a week ago. read more

Amid fears for Prudente's health, the couple requested an abortion when told that the pregnancy was no longer viable. However, the request was refused since Malta does not allow abortion under any circumstances.

Doctors had refused to certify her as fit to travel, but arrangements have since been made through the couple's travel insurance to enable her to fly to the Spanish island Majorca.

"The insurance company has finalised arrangements for them to be airlifted to Majorca. Andrea is signing herself out since Maltese medical advice is for her to stay under observation," the couple’s lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic told Reuters.

"Andrea is going through a lot psychologically. But here in Malta, doctors' hands are tied since according to law they would be committing a crime by terminating the pregnancy," she said.

The couple are due to leave by air ambulance later on Thursday.

Malta is the only EU country that has a total ban on abortion. The Ministry of Health has not commented on the case.

Reporting by Christopher Scicluna Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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