MaltaToday previous editions

MALTATODAY 26 June 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 51

4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 JUNE 2022 NEWS MAYA DIMITRIJEVIC WOMEN MPs in Malta are re- fusing to engage with the med- ico-legal consequences of the Prudente affair, where the is- land's abortion ban prevented doctors from terminating a mis- carried pregnancy because the foetus's heartbeat could still be detected. Malta's blanket ban on abor- tion came under the scrutiny of the world press, but MPs remain silent on the case after Amer- ican tourist Andrea Prudente managed to be discharged from Mater Dei Hospital to be airlift- ed to Spain, where she obtained a termination. Prudente and her partner Jay Weeldreyer were holidaying in Gozo when she miscarried her daughter. Despite having no chance of survival after her waters broke prematurely at 16 weeks, voiding the womb of am- niotic fluid and giving no chance of survival for the foetus doctors refused a termination due to a persisting heartbeat. "Her breathing is soft and easy, restful, unlike recent days," Weeldreyer told MaltaToday from Spain, as the couple had to process the whirlwind of panic, confusion and media coverage they were swept up in. With only a few voices from the political parties declaring outrage over Malta's abortion ban, the deafening silence of MPs reveals the taboo that abor- tion represents for politicians. The Nationalist MPs Graziel- la Galea, Graziella Attard Previ and Bernice Bonello said the PN "fully trusts medical profession- als" and that the Prudente case had been treated in the best possible way by doctors who constantly monitored the moth- er while waiting for the body to naturally miscarry the 16-week foetus despite being declared as having no chance of survival. Labour MP Katya DeGiovanni and Cressida Galea reiterated Labour's cautious position on abortion, last publicised when Marlene Farrugia tabled her pri- vate member's bill for decrimi- nalisation, calling only for "the need for a mature and responsi- ble discussion." Labour's women's branch Ni- sa Laburisti president Nikita Zammit Alamango however said that where a scientific conclu- sion shows that a pregnancy is not viable anymore, the parent's wishes should be carried out ac- cordingly. "That said, I do not blame lo- cal medical practitioners since their hands are tied by the cur- rent legislation. Therefore, the State should urgently start the process of considering the ter- mination of pregnancies on medical grounds. We also can- not ignore the psychological ef- fects and trauma for the mother in these circumstances." On the other hand, her MNPN counterpart Francine Farrugia, echoing the PN's stance, insist- ed that life should be protect- ed from conception to death. "The media is what it is," she said, complaining about what she said was a sensationalised case. "We must focus on sex education and women's health," Farrugia said, who seemingly confused the issue with Malta's foreign population as having to respect Malta's apparent "pro- life and Christian... laws and policies." There were no comments from Labour MPs Davina Sam- mut Hili, Romilda Baldacchino, Amanda Spiteri and Nationalist MPs Eve Borg Bonello, Paula Mifsud Bonnici, Julie Zahra, Claudette Buttigieg. The PN's head of research, lawyer Martina Caruana, was undoubtedly the most eloquent of voices from the political are- na, calling on MPs to legislate instead of dropping soundbites or grandstanding on social me- dia. "I am sick and tired of MPs throwing up their hands and saying 'someone should do something!' Flash news: it's you. Your job is literally to do some- thing. What is so difficult about doing the job you were elected to do? If you don't know that a legislator's job is to legislate, perhaps you shouldn't have run to be one. Our elected officials are not supposed to be elected preachers or prayer warriors." Caruana called for an end to rhetoric and said MPs should b speaking up about the Pruden- te case. "I care about you acting on a woman's life being put into jeopardy by sadistic and primi- tive laws. I care about you car- ing about women's lives. I care about you acknowledging that saving a mother is against the law, with doctors facing four years in prison and a revocation of their license if they actually do prioritise her life. I care about you acknowledging that women have heartbeats too. We have a life worth living too." Prudente case: the silence of Malta's women MPs is deafening Nisa Laburisti president Nikita Zammit Alamango says laws should give doctors comfort in putting medical science before everything else, while the PN's head of research Martina Caruana says it is time for MPs to stop grandstanding and legislate in favour of women's health "I care about you acknowledging that saving a mother is against the law, with doctors facing four years in prison and a revocation of their license if they actually do prioritise her life"

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MALTATODAY 26 June 2022