Appeal Case: May 2013
Country: El Salvador
Sexual and reproductive rights, Health concern, Maternal health
Demand Life-Saving Treatment for Beatriz in El-Salvador
Beatriz, a woman from El Salvador, has still not been given the life-saving termination to her pregnancy. Beatriz suffers from health problems that put her life at risk while she is pregnant. She has a history of lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the person's own tissue. She also has other medical conditions, including kidney disease related to the lupus. She also suffered serious complications during her previous pregnancy. Beatriz has been diagnosed as being at high risk of pregnancy-related death if she continues with the pregnancy. Three scans have confirmed that the fetus 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 birth. Now four-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, Beatriz, at the advice of medical professionals, has requested a therapeutic abortion in order to save her life. The medical professionals have yet to act in accordance with her wishes because abortion under all circumstances is criminalized in El Salvador. Medical professionals fear persecution if they carry out the life-saving treatment.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has urged the Salvadoran government to safeguard the life of Beatriz, but they still have not acted. The Salvadoran government must act immediately to safeguard the life of Beatriz: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted her "protective measures" (medidas cautelares) on Monday 29 April, urging the Salvadoran State to provide Beatriz with the medical treatment indicated by her doctors in accordance with her wishes within 72 hours. The government still has not done so.
Sexual and reproductive rights are grounded in human rights that are recognized in international human rights treaties, regional standards, national constitutions and other relevant human rights standards. Sexual and reproductive rights are central to the realization of every individual’s human rights. Respect for these rights is essential to human dignity and to the enjoyment of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Their fulfillment enhances life and personal relationships and helps to achieve gender equality and empowerment. All people must be allowed to enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights free from coercion, discrimination and violence.
In June 2011, the UN Special expert on Violence against Women expressed grave concern at a situation of violence against women in El Salvador, and warned that government inaction on the investigation, prosecution and reparation for such crimes had lead to a situation of impunity for gender based violence. In her report the UN Special Expert also urged the government to review the laws which ban abortion in all circumstances, even where the life or health of the woman or girl is at stake or she is a victim of rape.
RECOMMENDED ACTION - Please send appeals before June 5 to:
- Urging the authorities to comply immediately with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights instruction of 29 April and provide Beatriz with the necessary medical treatment, in accordance with her wishes and as recommended by her doctors, in order to save her life;
- Urging them to ensure immediately that health professionals are able to give Beatriz the treatment she needs, without any risk of criminal prosecution;
- Urging them to decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and ensure women and girls have safe and legal access to abortion services necessary to preserve their life or health, or if they are pregnant as a result of rape.
Presidente de la República de El Salvador
Alameda Dr. Manuel Enrique Araujo, No. 5500,
San Salvador, El Salvador
Fax 011 503 2243 6860
Salutation: Dear President/
Estimado Sr. Presidente
Ambassador Francisco Altschul Fuentes
Embassy of El Salvador
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20036
Phone: 1 202 595 7500
Fax: 202 232 3763
Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the above date.
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