Stranded ship puts pro-life Malta to test

Malta's authorities claim they are protecting unborn life. But what happens when the unborn life comes from Africa?

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Stranded ship puts pro-life Malta to test - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

The Alan Kurdi is a search-and-rescue ship reportedly carrying 80 people, 64 of them rescued near Libya. The passengers, rescued at sea and denied a safe port to disembark, include 12 women, a child and a baby. It took a pregnant woman suffering an epileptic seizure for the armed forces of Malta to evacuate her for medical help. There is one more pregnant woman on board.

Passengers are seasick and exhausted, and some of the women told the crew they had suffered sexual violence and human trafficking on their perilous journey. Yet this is not deemed sufficient by the governments of Italy and Malta to allow them to disembark. This is because these individuals may use their right to ask for asylum, and both countries are waiting for other countries to propose to redistribute them as it happened in the past, when European governments negotiated ad hoc solutions for stranded ships.

The Alan Kurdi is not the first ship floating near Malta with little protection or state-administered care offered to the living -- born and unborn -- by the authorities.

But care for the unborn is a controversial topic in Malta, where the state can issue care orders for fetuses. Authorities can intervene if they deem expectant mothers are neglecting the needs of their fetuses, and the procedure could potentially be used to intercept women traveling abroad to receive an abortion -- the latter being strictly banned in Malta. Recently, a debate arose whether authorities can intervene in this case.

Meanwhile, Malta's most infamous anti-migration far-right leader Norman Lowell went on TV to express his admiration for Hitler, 'explain' eugenics and advocate for aborting or killing 'defective' fetuses and newborns. 

Details from the story:

  • NGO Sea-Eye's ship Alan Kurdi is stuck at sea for over a week. It rescued 81 individuals.
  • A 23-year-old Nigerian national, one of the two pregnant women on board the Alan Kurdi, had suffered an epileptic seizure. She was transported to Malta for medical help. Her "worried" husband remains on board.
  • Another woman was transported for medical attention earlier.
  • Malta and Italy's governments believe that the ship should disembark in war-torn Libya.
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