Support from Salvadoran Minister of Health Welcomed, but Government Must End "Russian Roulette" with Young Pregnant Woman's Life

Press Release
May 31, 2013

Support from Salvadoran Minister of Health Welcomed, but Government Must End "Russian Roulette" with Young Pregnant Woman's Life

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

(NEW YORK) – Swift medical action is desperately needed to save the life of Beatriz, the young pregnant woman who is seriously ill, Amnesty International said today, after El Salvador’s Minister of Health suggested an early Caesarean section could be performed to preserve her health.

“Beatriz is increasingly at risk of suffering long-term health consequences as a result of the already cruel and unnecessary delays. All those with the power to act must now put an end to the game of Russian roulette with this young woman’s life,” said Esther Major, Amnesty International’s El Salvador researcher.

Beatriz, 22, is seriously ill and six months into a non-viable pregnancy. She has been diagnosed with a number of severe illnesses including lupus and kidney problems and has so far been prevented from having medical treatment that could save her life. Doctors have said Beatriz could die if she continues with the pregnancy, but haven’t treated her for fear of being prosecuted under the country’s total ban on abortion.

“We welcome the statement by the Salvadoran Minister of Health giving the medical personnel who are treating Beatriz every support to provide the medical intervention she needs to save her life and preserve her health,” said Major. “The verbal commitment made by El Salvador’s Minister of Health to support the doctors treating Beatriz has to be translated into action to prevent Beatriz from dying.”

The Minister of Health’s statement to the media came on the same day the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Salvadoran Government to immediately provide Beatriz the treatment she needs to save her life.

“The government must comply with the order from the Inter-American Court and ensure doctors intervene before Beatriz suffers long-term damage to her health, and provide her with treatment in accordance with her wishes,” said Major. “She must not be made to wait any longer. We will continue to campaign until Beatriz’s life is no longer in danger. The world is watching El Salvador, and urging the government to finally do the right thing.”

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.