The Supreme Court of El Salvador has still not issued a decision about whether or not it will allow a woman in El Salvador to terminate a life-threatening, non-viable fetus.
"Beatriz", who is currently 22 and already a mother of a young infant, was diagnosed with multiple severe illnesses 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. 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. While the Supreme Court has agreed to hear her case, the Court has not released anything related to the case in the month since the hospital sought permission to treat Beatriz.
Over 45,000 people from around the world have signed a petition urging Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes to authorize the procedure. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights have also pressured the government to intervene. The UN experts on the right to health; torture; and violence against women issued a joint statement saying, "We urge the Government of El Salvador to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and full enjoyment of the right to life, and to the highest attainable standard of health for Beatriz, in accordance with international human rights law."
Since a total ban on abortion was passed in 1998, 628 women have been imprisoned for their abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Of those, 24 were charged with "aggravated murder," which can mean a penalty of up to 30 years in jail.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 5/3/2013; Christian Science Monitor 5/2/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/25/2013
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .