Couple recall termination of unviable pregnancy 20 years ago


It’s been nearly 20 years and Anna and Joe still haven’t put up a Christmas tree.

“It reminds me of the tough times,” Joe says.

“I cannot find joy there.”

Anna sits across from him, her eyes shining.

“Christmas is a nightmare for us,” she agrees.

I was told I could miscarry at any time– Anna

Their daughter, Jenny, would have turned 18 this year if things had gone according to plan. But it wasn’t.

“It was December, I was 16 weeks pregnant, and I was due for a routine scan. ‘, Anna recalls.

The scan has detected a serious anomaly – too serious an anomaly to give Jenny a chance to fight.

“I was told I could miscarry at any time,” says Anna.

“My gynecologist immediately gave me the option to go abroad and end my pregnancy.”

In a few weeks they flew to London. Two days later they returned to Malta. It was the first week of January and their parents and relatives were unwise. They thought Anna had a miscarriage at the turn of the year.

The story of Anna and Joe is not uncommon. The Foreign Abortion Assistance Service says it helps dozens of Maltese women get safe abortions abroad each year. A local doctor tells an anecdote that many other women heading to Sicily are going to get clandestine and more dangerous abortions in unlicensed clinics. there.

The couple have never spoken of themselves before and have never been touched.

But among the 80 academics who signed an opinion piece last month, claiming that the government’s reform plan would “open the door to abortion,” the obstetrician-gynecologist who referred them to London for abortion was named. Things changed when they discovered they were involved.

“I felt betrayed,” says Anna.

“It was a shock. I thought our doctors would support us.”

The doctor in question is not alone. At least two of her other doctors who signed the petition have also helped patients get abortions, filed paperwork, and watched her private chats. Times of Malta show.

In one of those cases, a local gynecologist referred the patient to a Maltese doctor in London for an abortion.

Doctor advised patient about ‘dismissal abroad’

The private hospital in question said in an email that the surgery would cost around £4,500 (€5,200) for consultation, surgery and scans. This is about three times the average monthly income in Malta.

And saw in a WhatsApp chat conversation Times of Malta.

Although few in number, the examples shed light on the complexity of views on abortion, which are often more nuanced than the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice” suggest.

“My doctor was very caring,” recalls Anna. I still don’t understand how they could disown us like that. “

I had to pretend that everything was fine

When contacted for comment, the gynecologist in question admitted that he had referred a patient abroad for an abortion, but that the woman would not have had an abortion, even if it was an unsafe procedure. Only if you were desperate.

“I talk to my patients, get them counseled, encourage them to think twice. I could, but sometimes it’s not convincing.

“Unsafe abortions in backstreet clinics in Sicily can cause major health complications. So I try not to put them through that ordeal.”

Anna and Joe have different memories of things.

“The gynecologist sorted it all out,” Joe says.

“We weren’t the ones who pushed.”

Anna agrees.

“At that point we were completely lost. Our primary care physician helped us through the most difficult moments of my life.

“I remember you asked me when my due date was. Everyone said ‘Congratulations’ and I know your baby is not going to work out. I just play around and pretend that everything went well. had to do “

Abortion debate ‘hurts’

The ongoing national debate about abortion is hurting them, they say.

“When I see people like us criticizing that we don’t care about our unborn children… I give birth to a dead child, take her in my arms, I cried and said goodbye, and those who haven’t experienced it will never know what it’s like, ”says Anna.

“And now I feel like I’ve lost my primary care doctor, too.”

Tension cuts in both directions.

“I’ve always been adamantly against abortion, but I’ve also done everything I can to keep my patients safe,” the gynecologist said.

“The way this issue is being pushed only makes things worse for everyone. The next time a woman comes to me in that situation, I will slam the door in her face.” Why should I do it when everything I do will be used against me?”

*The name has been changed.

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