A mother has opened up about her traumatic experience being forced to give birth to an unviable fetus in Malta in an experience that put her life at risk in an interview with Women For Women.
Marion Mifsud Mora was 17 weeks pregnant and holidaying in Malta when her water suddenly broke on a bus to Valletta. Taken to Mater Dei, she could tell something was wrong but doctors refused to tell her that her baby wouldn’t survive until her husband had come down from Canada.
That’s when things got really bad.
“This is where the biggest ordeal started,” Mifsud Mora said in an interview.
“Infection set in and I started losing strength. It was clear that the pregnancy needed to be terminated. I had wanted this baby and I was going through massive emotional and physical trauma. It was not even as though I was seeking termination because I got pregnant by accident. The fact that this baby was not going to make it was a cause of huge heartbreak. But, of course, my husband and I had our daughter to think of and my health. The only solution was to terminate the pregnancy as soon as possible as, meantime, my life was in danger,” she said.
However, Maltese doctors refused to terminate, saying “it was in God’s hands” now.
“The entire situation was so wrong. They were risking leaving my daughter an orphan in order not to terminate a pregnancy that was not viable. There was no way that the baby was going to live, at this stage. When someone mentions that they are ‘pro-life’, I remember this situation and snort. They are not ‘pro-life’, they are pro-pregnancy. My daughter was alive and she needed her mother. I was still alive, but they didn’t want to save my life. They preferred to let me die in order to give birth to a foetus that was dead. How is this pro-life?” she asked.
As time passed and her infection worsened, her health began to deteriorate further.
“I kept on risking my life to give birth to a baby that would die.”
Eventually, she knew she needed outside help, and her insurance company’s emergency evacuation team arrived and stopped anyone in Mater Dei from touching the mother anymore.
“They removed all the IV and started their own care and medication. They got me out of there and on a plane in 15 minutes,” she said.
“Initially, they were trying to take me to Italy or Germany, but the Maltese authorities kept on being difficult and risking my life, by not releasing the paperwork. It was a real hostage situation. I could have haemorrhaged on the way there, and I was a medical risk to the doctor who agreed to take me on,” she continued.
Eventually, she made it out of Malta alive.
“As soon as we landed, I delivered the baby naturally because by then all options had become impossible. There was more bleeding that even in a C-Section. I was sick for three months after, and the infection kept coming back as I had not been immediately given adequate medication,” she says
After finally being sure her life was no longer at risk and her daughter wouldn’t become an orphan, she finally had a chance to realise that she had lost her baby, and had time to grieve.
“Mentally, the whole experience left me traumatised. While I was at Mater Dei, my only focus was staying alive. I was in survival mode. Because of this, I didn’t deal with the loss of the pregnancy immediately. I bear the physical and emotional scars to this date,” Mifsud Mora said.
Fortunately, she soon became pregnant again – but her terrible experience at the hands of religious Maltese doctors has scarred her for life.
“Happily, the following year I got pregnant again and was immediately placed on bed rest. Today, I have a wonderful son. My daughter still has her mother, but it’s not thanks to the doctors in Malta,” she said.
She ended by calling on Malta to stop forcing women to give birth to dead fetuses and to see individuals as individuals with unique cases.
“I was lucky to get out of the country in time and I still consider myself extremely lucky to live in a country where the woman’s life is protected by law, where she has the right to choose. But I wonder how many Maltese women are placed in the same situation? How many Maltese women’s lives are endangered because the doctors refuse to do their duty and terminate a dangerous pregnancy?” she ends.