Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-25-13

Woman Could Go To Jail For Life-Saving Abortion In El Salvador

A woman who faces a life-threatening, non-viable pregnancy may have to choose between saving her life or going to jail in El Salvador.

"Beatriz", who is currently 22 and already a mother of a young infant, was diagnosed with multiple severe illness and is 18 weeks pregnant. In addition, the fetus will not survive more than a few days outside the womb (if at all) due to a severe fetal abnormality where part of the brain does not develop. Doctors fear that if she continues with the pregnancy, Beatriz could lose her life. But abortion in any circumstance is illegal in El Salvador, and if Beatriz and her doctors proceed with the abortion without approval from the Supreme Court they could face up to 30 years in jail for aggravated homicide.

Beatriz and her hospital have petitioned the Supreme Court in El Salvador to permit an abortion. While the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, the Court has not released anything related to the case in the month since the hospital sought permission to treat Beatriz. Since the request was submitted, her condition has worsened.

The case has gathered support from the Salvadoran Minister of Health, Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriquez, as well as the feminist group Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugénesico (Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethical and Eugenic Abortion). Earlier this month, Agrupacion petitioned the Supreme Court to allow Beatriz to have the life-saving procedure. In a press conference on the issue the group told reporters, "While we are talking, while the Court is thinking and the government is delaying, Beatriz is suffering... The Salvadoran government has clear obligations, international as well as domestic, to protect Beatriz's life, and to assure that Beatriz can access vital treatment as soon as possible" [translated at RH Reality Check].

Beatriz's case has also gained international attention from the United Nations and Amnesty International. Amnesty International's researcher on Central America, Esther Major, said in a statement, "Beatriz's situation is desperate and must not wait any longer. Her very chances of survival depend on a decision from the authorities... We hope that the Supreme Court treats this case with the urgency it merits, given that Beatriz's life and health are at risk. She is suffering cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in being denied the medical intervention she so urgently needs." Roberto Valent, the Resident Coordinator the UN in El Salvador, has urged authorities [SPANISH] to resolve the case quickly.

Many activists are wondering if the conservative climate of El Salvador will result in a case similar to Savita Halappanavar's death in Ireland. In November 2012, Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at University Hospital Galway complaining of severe back pain. Hospital staff determined she was miscarrying, however doctors refused to remove the pregnancy until three days later because the fetus still had a heartbeat. After the pregnancy was removed, Savita was transferred to intensive care where she died three days later of what was determined to be septicaemia (similar to blood poisoning).

Media Resources: Huffington Post 4/25/2013; RH Reality Check 4/24/2013; PolicyMic 4/22/2013; La Página 4/18/2013; Amnesty International 4/17/2013; Feminist Newswire 11/14/2012


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/2/2015 President Obama Will Expand Overtime Pay to Millions of Americans - President Obama is proposing a plan this week to broaden overtime pay that is expected to affect millions of Americans in the working class, especially women. In an Op-Ed written for and published by the Huffington Post, President Obama summarized what he called a successful week for Americans. . . .
 
7/2/2015 National Portrait Gallery Honors Dolores Huerta - Feminist Majority Foundation board member and lifelong feminist activist Dolores Huerta was honored by the National Portrait Gallery last night as the first Latina person to have a featured exhibition at the museum. Huerta is an active defender of civil rights, farm workers' rights, women's rights, and immigrant rights, and has been for over five decades. . . .
 
7/1/2015 Women's Rights Activists are Suing the Kenyan Government for Reproductive Rights - A woman in Kenya is suing the Kenyan government for failure to provide safe and legal abortions, which caused her daughter - a 15-year-old rape victim - to suffer a kidney failure after undergoing the procedure illegally. Currently, there are four petitioners on the case: the mother of the survivor, the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, and two other women's rights advocates. . . .