Amnesty International Condemns “Cruel, Callous” Ruling by El Salvador Court in Abortion Case

Press Release
May 30, 2013

Amnesty International Condemns “Cruel, Callous” Ruling by El Salvador Court in Abortion Case

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @AIUSAmedia

(NEW YORK) – In response to the court ruling in El Salvador denying an abortion to a pregnant woman named Beatriz whose health is failing, Amnesty International USA issued the following comments from Michelle Ringuette, chief of campaigns and programs:

“At its very core, this cruel and callous ruling by El Salvador's Supreme Court is a potential death sentence for Beatriz. After delaying the decision, the court has forced a gravely ill young woman to carry a fetus at the expense of her own health and possible life. Beatriz and her family have had to endure the heartbreak of a wanted pregnancy gone terribly wrong. Now they risk losing Beatriz as well."

Beatriz, 22, who also has a one-year-old child, suffers from lupus, kidney disease, and hypertension – serious conditions that are putting her health at severe risk. Her doctors submitted the abortion request when she was 13 weeks pregnant. Additionally, the fetus she is carrying is anencephalic (lacking a large part of its brain and skull), which in almost all cases results in death before or within a few hours or days of birth. After weeks of waiting for a response from Salvadoran government officials, Beatriz’s lawyers took her case to the Supreme Court. Last week, the Court determined they needed up to 15 working days to debate her case and issue a decision.

The United Nations, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and El Salvador’s own Minister of Health have called on the Salvadoran government to grant Beatriz access to the life-saving abortion she wants and needs.

The government must authorize any abortion because abortion is criminalized under all circumstances in El Salvador, including if a pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Not only does the woman receiving an abortion face years in jail, medical professionals do as well. This complete prohibition is in contradiction to international human rights standards.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists, and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.