A pregnant American woman who suffered heavy bleeding while on holiday on Malta but was denied an abortion has flown to Spain where she is "out of harm's way", her partner said today.
Andrea Prudente, 38, and Jay Weeldreyer, 45, were told their baby had no chance of surviving but, despite her fear of deadly infection, doctors refused to intervene due to Malta's total ban on terminations.
"Medical evacuation got us safely to Spain where Andrea is out of harm's way and finally receiving the medical care and treatment denied her in Malta," Mr Weeldreyer said in a text message to AFP.
Asked how they were feeling, he said: "Relief. And the sudden, smashing waves of grief at losing our little girl.
"We've been so consumed with fear and intense focus on Andrea's safety, that now she's finally out of harm's way, there are cascades of mixed emotions that just come in waves."
As he wrote, the Supreme Court back home in the United States ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shreds half a century of constitutional protections.
"Anyplace that implements laws like Malta is sentencing women to suffer and potentially die," Mr Weeldreyer said in response.
"Strict bans on abortion will kill innocent women."
Ms Prudente was rushed to hospital during their holiday to Malta after she suffered heavy bleeding in her 16th week of pregnancy.
Later her waters broke, with an ultrasound showing a partially detached placenta, her partner said.
An ultrasound two days later showed no amniotic fluid left, and despite its heartbeat the foetus has "no chance of survival", according to a doctor with campaign group Doctors for Choice, which was involved with the case.
But doctors had refused to intervene, waiting for Ms Prudente to miscarry naturally, for the heartbeat to stop or "for her to have a life-threating infection" that would spur them to act, Mr Weeldreyer explained.
He feared she would not survive if she developed sepsis, saying they were "playing chicken with the death of the mother".
The couple's lawyer, Lara Dimitrijevic, posted on social media today that Ms Prudente was "weak and exhausted, relieved and grieving".
The case sparked protests in Malta and made headlines around the world as evidence of the intransigence of the law on the Mediterranean island nation, the only country in the European Union to have a total ban on abortion.
Women who have abortions face a maximum of three years in prison, while doctors who help them face up to four years, campaigners say.