The partner of a US tourist denied a request for abortion in Malta after suffering the symptoms of a miscarriage has spoken of the couple's relief after the pregnancy was medically terminated in Spain.

Andrea Prudente was 16 weeks pregnant when she began bleeding profusely while on holiday in the country last week and was told by doctors that the pregnancy was no longer viable.

However, her request for a termination was denied because of Malta's strict anti-abortion laws and doctors told her that they could only intervene if her life was at imminent risk.

The ordeal of the 38-year-old and her partner, Jay Weeldreyer, made international headlines after they decided to go public with their story in an appeal for help. 

After over a week in Mater Dei hospital, her travel insurance enabled her to fly to the Spanish island of Mallorca on Thursday night, when she began the treatment.

"She's safe, resting, receiving the care she was denied in Malta," her partner, Jay told Times of Malta.

"It feels like a terrifying ordeal is over. Now we can deal with the loss of our daughter and actually have emotional space and movement to grieve."

He said that the pregnancy was medically terminated on Thursday night after an examination and according to the advice of the doctor in the hospital in Mallorca. 

Labour will be induced 24 hours later, he said.

In comments later to AFP, he described how doctors had refused to intervene, waiting for his partner to miscarry naturally, for the baby's heartbeat to stop or "for her to have a life-threating infection" that would spur them to act.

He feared she would not survive if she developed sepsis, saying they were "playing chicken with the death of the mother".

As well as feeling relief that they were receiving the care they had asked for, the couple also feel "sudden, smashing waves of grief at losing our little girl," he said.

Their lawyer, Lara Dimitrijevic said Andrea was feeling "weak and exhausted, relieved and grieving". 

Neither the health ministry nor the government have commented on the case but in a statement earlier on Friday, gynaecologists said they had always put the health of pregnant women "at the forefront" within the confines of the law.

“If there is no spontaneous delivery, and there is a risk to the mother, we deliver the baby. Of course, our priority is the mother's safety and health,” they said. 

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