Ministry of Health Rejects Institute of Legal Medicine Recommendation against Abortion for Beatriz

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On Tuesday, May 7, at the request of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) – the state forensics institute – released a medical evaluation of Beatriz that deemed she is not at risk of death, and that there is no need to interrupt her pregnancy. The report directly contradicts the Ministry of Health, which maintains that the young woman’s lupus has produced renal insufficiency that puts her life in grave danger should she carry the pregnancy to term. Beatriz has filed a case before the Constitutional Chamber requesting an exemption from El Salvador’s no-exception ban on abortion.

Many reproductive rights groups have questioned the objectivity of the IML, which had already expressed its position against the possibility of a therapeutic abortion for Beatriz prior to examining her. Minister of Health María Isabel Rodriguez also discounted the IML opinion in favor of the Maternity Hospital’s previous evaluations: “We can’t believe the analysis of someone who has already made public a similar position. It’s ideological pressure. It’s crude, rude, and I can’t believe the judgment of someone like [IML Director Miguel Fortín]. I trust this hospital, a specialized institution.”

22-year-old Beatriz is now 23 weeks pregnant; over 4 weeks have passed since she filed suit to permit the therapeutic abortion that her doctors at the Maternity Hospital have deemed necessary to save her life. A closed hearing for the case took place yesterday, May 15, and Beatriz as well as seven IML experts gave testimony. Constitutional Chamber magistrates are now tasked with issuing a decision. In the absence of a timely court ruling, and in deteriorating health conditions, Beatriz’s principal option appears to be undergoing the procedure in a nation where it is legal; she has yet to announce her decision. “She is the owner of her body, no one can decide for her, no one and nothing can intervene in her decision to travel abroad. We have received numerous offers from countries and foundations that have manifested their will to help her,” said the Minister of Health.

To take action, call on the Supreme Court to permit Beatriz to receive this life-saving procedure HERE.

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