According to a report from Amnesty International, a seriously ill and pregnant El Salvadorian woman may face jail time if she goes forward with a lifesaving and medically recommended abortion. Abortion is illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador.
The 22-year-old mother of one, identified only as Beatriz, is four-and-a-half months pregnant, but her doctors have confirmed that the fetus has anencephaly (developing without a brain and certain parts of the skull) and that the pregnancy is nonviable. In addition to the fetal diagnosis, Beatriz is experiencing critical health complications related to her lupus and kidney disease.
The hospital treating Beatriz requested legal permission to perform the abortion more than a month ago, but authorities have still not agreed to let them proceed. Now, if government policy and religious ideology interfering with a woman’s right to access abortion care or a doctor’s ability to exercise medical judgment and save a woman’s life sounds familiar, it should.