[WATCH] Health Ministry orders review of law after American tourist was denied abortion in Malta

After Andrea Prudente had to be airlifted to Spain to receive a termination of an unviable pregnancy, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the Maltese law in its entirety will be studied to make sure doctors can give care without worry

The Health Ministry will be studying the Maltese laws in its entirety to identify whether aspects of it could be hindering doctors from giving proper care to patients.

In response to journalists on Thursday, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that he asked his ministerial staff to look at the Maltese laws to make sure that doctors and medical professionals are able to give care without hindrance.

“The Maltese law should help doctors do their work, and certainly there should be no part of the law that will preclude doctors or professionals from saving lives,” Fearne said.

He was responding to a question by MaltaToday on whether the criminalisation of abortion should be reformed after American tourist Andrea Prudente had to be airlifted to Spain to receive a termination of an unviable pregnancy.

“I have the reassurance of the State Advocate that, in cases like this, the State never takes action against the professionals doing their duty to give care or save lives,” he continued.

This is the first time that a Maltese minister has commented on Prudente’s case. The only two other politicians to have spoken out on the case was Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar and Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer.

Malta is the only EU member state with a complete ban on abortion. The law does not make exceptions.

Prudente broke her waters at 16 weeks and although doctors at Mater Dei Hospital told her the pregnancy was not viable they could not carry out an abortion because the foetus still had a heartbeat. Prudente was being treated with antibiotics to minimise the risk of contracting sepsis, a blood infection, that could have put her life in danger.

Eventually, Prudente was airlifted to Spain where her pregnancy was terminated.