Photo: Agrupacion Cuidadana
El Salvador women have taken to the streets to protest the recent ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that refused to allow a severely ill woman to have an immediate abortion.
El Salvador is a majority Catholic country and one of five Latin American countries that has a complete ban on abortion regardless of circumstances. El Salvadoran doctors or health care professional who are found to have performed an abortion risk being put in prison.
The Dominican Repubilc, Nicaragua, Chile and Honduras are the other countries with a complete abortion ban.
The woman referred to as “Beatriz” is carrying a fetus that is severely deformed and is only expected to survive a few hours after birth. In addition, she is suffering from lupus, kidney failure and is in overall ‘frail health’. Her medical team has urged the termination of Beatriz’ 26-week pregnancy. Her doctors fear her health will deteriorate more as the pregnancy proceeds and risks death while giving birth.
In their 4-1 ruling, the judges said: “This court determines that the rights of the mother cannot take precedence over those of the unborn child or vice versa, and that there is an absolute bar to authorizing an abortion as contrary to the constitutional protection accorded to human persons ‘from the moment of conception’.”
The case has brought forth the support for the termination of the fetus from the United Nations, many international women’s rights and human rights group. On the opposite side of the argument is the El Salvador Catholic Church that has urged the court not to weaken one of Latin America’s strongest anti-abortion laws.