Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Ban, Health Ministry Approves C-Section for Beatriz

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"And, if Beatriz were your daughter, would it be illegal to save her life?" (Photo: Amnesty International)

On Wednesday, May 29th, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of El Salvador ruled to deny Beatriz the therapeutic abortion her doctor’s say is necessary to ensure her life. Four of the Chamber’s five magistrates signed the decision, claiming that Beatriz’s life was not in immediate danger, and that the constitution could not privilege the life of the mother over the child, nor vice versa.

The following day, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) ordered the government of El Salvador to conduct this life-saving measure for Beatriz (whose last name has not been made public to protect her anonymity) “in order to avoid that harm that could be irreparable to the life, personal integrity and health” of the ailing young woman. The ICHR gave El Salvador until June 7th to present a report detailing the government’s compliance with the mandate.

That same Thursday, Minister of Health Maria Isabel Rodriguez, who has supported Beatriz's doctors' recommendation for a therapeutic abortion from the beginning, announced the authorization of a pre-term C-section for her, to be performed next week. “For me what matters is to protect Beatriz’s life,” said the Minister.

The United Nations responded to the Supreme Court ruling, calling for “the creation of an ample and participative national dialogue with the different social sectors and related public entities about women’s right to reproductive health and about the implications of the laws that restrict abortion.”

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