Salvadoran Authorities Must Act Urgently to Save Young Woman’s Life in High-Risk Pregnancy

Press Release
April 29, 2013

Salvadoran Authorities Must Act Urgently to Save Young Woman’s Life in High-Risk Pregnancy

Delay on Request for Therapeutic Abortion Desperately Raises Health Risk

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

(NEW YORK) – Amnesty International is mobilizing its worldwide activist network to demand that a 22-year-old woman in El Salvador be granted a medically necessary abortion to save her life. The woman, Beatriz, suffers from various medical conditions and could die if she continues to carry to term, according to health professionals caring for her.

More than a month ago, the hospital caring for the woman, who is almost five months pregnant, requested permission to provide her with a life-saving abortion. No ruling has been made yet, a delay that Amnesty International considers cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

The case is now before the country’s Supreme Court and while a ruling is awaited, Amnesty International, fearing that each passing day places Beatriz’s life at greater risk, is urging its more than three million members and supporters worldwide to write to the Attorney General and the President urging them to allow immediate treatment for Beatriz.

El Salvador has a strict ban on abortion under all circumstances. Beatriz wants a termination to save her life, but her doctors won’t act in accordance with her wishes without the assurance from Salvadoran authorities that they will not be prosecuted. Abortion is criminalized and anyone who performs one can face a lengthy prison sentence.

“This is a desperate situation that demands an urgent response,” said Cristina Finch, managing director of Amnesty International USA’s Women’s Human Rights program. “Every day that passes places this young woman’s life at greater risk.”

Beatriz, who already has a one-year-old son, suffered serious complications during that pregnancy. Three scans have confirmed that the fetus she is carrying is anencephalic (lacking a large part of the brain and skull). Almost all babies with anencephaly die before birth or within a few hours or days after being born.

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.

TAKE ACTION NOW