Pro-choice medical group Doctors for Choice has denounced a call, endorsed by Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, for a lawyer to represent Andrea Prudente’s unborn baby in a court case she mounted against Malta’s abortion laws.
“Prudente’s case is not an isolated or exceptional case,” Doctors for Choice wrote after Grech came out in favour of the proposal in a new interview with Lovin Malta.
“Many Maltese women with pregnancy complications have had delays in treatment due to abortion laws, which caused them distress or harm. We know, we hear from these people.”
“Prudente is doing what many Maltese women wanted to do but held back due to stigma and shame. Once she wins, every person who is able to get pregnant in this country will benefit.”
“Those who put spokes in the wheel of this case are in favour of Maltese women dying due to pregnancy complications.”
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“And finally, let’s think about the absurdity of this suggestion for a second. Say a lawyer is appointed to represent an embryo that did not even develop a brain prior to ceasing to exist.”
“How would they know what the wishes of this entity would have been? And if they acted in its ‘best interests’ – how would it have been in their best interests to prolong the pregnancy if they had an almost zero chance of survival?”
Prudente was 16 weeks pregnant when she suffered a miscarriage while on holiday in Malta. Although doctors ruled that her pregnancy was unviable, she wasn’t allowed to terminate it, in line with Maltese law that doesn’t allow abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk.
She was eventually airlifted to Spain, where she terminated her pregnancy.
She has now filed a constitutional case, arguing that the applicable clauses of the Maltese Criminal Law go against the European Convention on Human Rights.
TV journalist Peppi Azzopardi made the original call for the courts to provide Prudente’s unborn baby with a lawyer as part of the case. Questioned about this proposal by Lovin Malta, Grech came out in favour.
“Why not? We have lawyers in court representing children in family court cases. Let’s understand what human life means,” he said.
“Imagine it was you or I in such a tough situation, not only for the couple but also the baby. Why shouldn’t everyone be represented? It’s a good thing for everyone to be represented in a case.”
Cover photo: Left: PN leader Bernard Grech, Right: A recent pro-choice protest in Valletta (Phoot: Doctors for Choice)
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