[WATCH] Cyrus Engerer questions abortion ban: ‘Shouldn’t that woman’s life been saved in Malta?’

The Labour MEP questioned what will happen if a Maltese woman is in the same position without the insurance Andrea Prudente had

Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer questioned Malta’s abortion ban after an American woman was unable to request a termination of her pregnancy to safeguard her health.

Andre Prudente was on holiday in Malta with her partner Jay Weeldreyer when her waters broke at 16 weeks of pregnancy. She lost all amniotic fluid and had a detached placenta, but doctors at Mater Dei Hospital refused to terminate the pregnancy because the foetus still had a heartbeat. She was eventually flown out to Spain to terminate the pregnancy.

“Shouldn’t that woman have been able to have her procedure to save her life in Malta? What happens if next time it’s a Maltese woman in the same position without the same national insurance that this couple had?” Engerer said in an interview with journalists.

The Labour MEP said that many people he spoke to who are not usually in favour of abortion were similarly shocked by the situation. “Their take was that, in this case, the foetus is obviously dying. Once it dies, there’s a big chance the mother might end up dying too. I think that knowing this, even people who tended to be very strongly anti-choice seemed to be shocked.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch MEP forming part of Renew, said that she doesn’t see why women in Malta should have less choice than women in other EU countries.

“Women have a right to choose over their own bodies. If they can lead the IMF, Germany, France, the European Parliament or the European Commission, surely they can run their bodies and their own lives,” she said.

READ ALSOAfter Maltese doctors' refusal, Andrea Prudente's pregnancy medically terminated in Spain

In ‘t Veld was recently in Malta as chairperson of the rule of law working group in the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee. One of the issues that had been flagged by the delegation was Malta’s “excruciatingly slow” judicial process.

During the interview, In ‘t Veld said that the EU should put pressure on Malta, and on other member states, to ensure a timely and efficient judicial process is available throughout the European Union.

“The national judiciary, by definition, is part of the European judiciary. The whole chain is as strong as the weakest link. There are big problems with the judiciary,” she remarked.

“Just look at the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but also other criminal cases - if you have to wait for five years and only one person has been convicted because he confessed, that’s not justice. It doesn’t just affect the family of the victim but society as a whole.”

On climate change, both Engerer and In ‘t Veld agreed that the European Parliament has been efficient in legislating for the crisis. However, In ‘t Veld remarked that the EU has still been too slow.

“Ultimately in a democracy you can’t decide with small minorities. I do hope the crisis in Ukraine and ensuing energy crisis will push us to not shift our energy dependence to Saudi Arabia or other shady regimes, but to become energy independent and very rapidly invest in renewables.”

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

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