by Jamison Maeda
Women’s rights advocates around the world following the case of “Beatriz,” the 22 year old woman in El Salvador, received reassuring news today. After 26 weeks of severe complications due to lupus and kidney failure, Beatriz was granted a Caesarean section. Her doctors as well as, international human rights groups and the United Nations appealed to the Supreme Court of El Salvador for a medically necessary abortion several weeks ago when her health issues became life threatening. But El Salvador like many other Latin American nations does not permit abortion in any case, even if the mother’s life is in danger.
Ultrasounds months ago showed the baby suffered from a birth defect called anencephaly in which parts of the skull and brain are missing. Babies with anencephaly usually do not survive a full term and those who do will only survive for few hours after birth. Beatriz’s medical team provided this information to the Supreme Court to no avail. Her baby was born without a brain and died a few hours after the Caesarean was performed.
The United Nations released a statement saying that it is time to reconsider the serious consequences of El Salvador’s abortion legislation and practices. “This Court ruling exposed the physical and mental health of Beatriz to serious risk, which could eventually threaten her life.”
We wholeheartedly wish Beatriz, her husband and their 14-month-old son well as they begin to recover from this tragedy.