NYC Vigil at El Salvador Consulate to Demand Authorities Act Immediately to Save Severely Ill Pregnant Woman's Life

Press Release
May 21, 2013

NYC Vigil at El Salvador Consulate to Demand Authorities Act Immediately to Save Severely Ill Pregnant Woman's Life

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

(NEW YORK) - Human rights activists with Amnesty International USA will stage a demonstration today at 1 p.m. outside the El Salvador consulate in New York City (46 Park Avenue) to demand that authorities urgently allow a life-saving abortion for a seriously ill pregnant woman who may die without it.

Amnesty International is calling on President Mauricio Funes to immediately intervene and authorize the medically necessary abortion for the woman, identified by her first name, Beatriz. More than 140,000 Amnesty International activists have signed petitions and many more are currently taking action.

Beatriz's doctors have recommended that she terminate her pregnancy because she is seriously ill with lupus, kidney problems and other complications that place her at high risk of death. She is also being forced to carry a nonviable fetus that is missing important parts of its brain and skull.

Beatriz, who has a one-year-old son, cannot wait any longer, as each day raises her risk of death and other serious medical consequences. The Supreme Court of Justice admitted her appeal on April 17, yet it has repeatedly delayed its decision. Last week, the court said that it may take an additional three weeks to make a ruling. Beatriz is already 24 weeks into a high-risk pregnancy. Amnesty International considers the delays cruel and inhumane.

"It is unconscionable that the El Salvador Supreme Court has decided to take its time when urgent action is needed to save the life of a young woman who needs an abortion to live," said Kathryn Striffolino, Amnesty International USA's Crisis Prevention and Response advocate. "By deciding to take 15 [working] days to render a decision, the court has in effect, condemned Beatriz and her family to increasing anxiety and further cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. President Funes must immediately step in and authorize Beatriz the life-saving treatment she needs. Salvadoran officials must remember that they have individual responsibility - and potential culpability - for their part in the pain and suffering their utter failure to act is causing."

El Salvador's Penal Code establishes that any person who requests or carries out an abortion could receive a long prison sentence. This means that both the doctors and Beatriz herself could risk imprisonment if the pregnancy was interrupted without permission from the authorities.

For more information on the case and ways you can help, please visit:

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=6645049&aid=519715

and

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR29/001/2013/en

View a video of Beatriz: http://youtu.be/qjVGzYYDs64

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.