Issaquah woman denied potentially life-saving abortion in Malta

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation on the island of Malta turned into a fight for an Issaquah woman’s life. Expectant mother Andrea Prudente was denied life-saving procedures due to the country’s strict abortion laws. Thursday, the 38-year-old was airlifted to Spain to receive that critical care.

Having made it through the first trimester, Andrea set out for a “babymoon” in Malta with her husband, Jay Weeldryer. According to Andrea’s aunt, Sue Prudente Galbraith, it was not long into the trip that her niece began bleeding heavily. She went to a doctor on June 12, but was sent home and told to wait. Two days later, Andrea’s water broke, and she was admitted to a hospital.

Forty-eight hours later, an ultrasound revealed heartbreaking information to the couple: Andrea’s placenta had detached, and no amniotic fluid was left in her womb. Doctors said the baby girl they had been hoping for would not survive.

“They are devastated to have lost this child,” said Sue.

Doctors then informed Andrea that despite the expected death, a fetal heartbeat was still detected. Therefore, under Malta’s strict abortion laws, they could not operate on her.

“The conditions of her body are making her very susceptible to infection,” said Sue. “Infection could take her life as well as the baby’s life, so two lives are lost.”

Feeling helpless at his partner’s side, it was Andrea’s husband who jumped into action, Sue says. With the help of a local women’s rights foundation, Weeldryer contacted a lawyer. Local and even international papers started publishing the story, and from there, it snowballed into full-on protests.

“There were actually protestors outside the hospital protesting for her,” said Sue.