A 22-year-old woman in El Salvador is currently in the midst of making one of the toughest decisions ever: Should she save her own life or her child’s? If she chooses the former, though, she will face jail time according to El Salvador law.
Amnesty International is fighting on behalf of the woman, identified only as Beatriz, who is suffering from several illnesses -- including lupus and kidney disease. Beatriz is currently four and a half months pregnant, and her child is also suffering developmentally from Beatriz’s illnesses.
According to Amnesty International, the baby is missing much of its brain and skull and has a low chance of survival after birth.
Medical officials are strongly suggesting for Beatriz to have an abortion in order to save her life, but in El Salvador, all abortions are illegal, no matter the circumstances.
The hospital treating Beatriz and her baby petitioned the government for the legal authority to perform the abortion more than a month ago, but it has not yet received permission.
“Beatriz’s situation is desperate and must not wait any longer. Her very chances of survival depend on a decision from the authorities,” Esther Major, Amnesty International’s researcher on Central America, said in a statement.
Over the last decade, many countries have expanded and loosened their guidelines for when women are able to get an abortion, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute and World Health Organization. Other countries, however, such as El Salvador and Nicaragua, have tightened restrictions.
“We hope that the Supreme Court treats this case with the urgency it merits, given that Beatriz’s life and health are at risk. She is suffering cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in being denied the medical intervention she so urgently needs,” Major said.