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Pregnant El Salvador Woman Denied Life-Saving Abortion (UPDATED)

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Posted on May 30, 2013
Facebook/Amnesty International USA

UPDATE: On Thursday, Think Progress reported that the country will now allow Beatriz to “end her pregnancy with a Caesarean section.”

A 22-year-old pregnant woman simply known as “Beatriz” will likely die after the El Salvador Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that she could not get an abortion despite the fact that her fetus has virtually no chance of surviving since ultrasounds have revealed it does not have a brain. Abortion is outlawed under any circumstances in El Salvador. Beatriz, who has a 14-month-old son, suffers from a chronic health condition that worsens during pregnancy. Without the abortion, doctors say she runs a “high risk of death.”

“I don’t want to die,” Beatriz said in a telephone interview with The New York Times. “I want to be with my boy, taking care of him.”

Think Progress:

Beatriz has been fighting for an abortion for the past three months, and several international human rights organizations have taken up her case. But it’s been an uphill battle in her deeply Catholic nation, where abortion is illegal under absolutely all circumstances and punishable by up to 30 years in prison. After El Salvador’s attorney general refused to grant Beatriz and her doctors an exception to the harsh law, the pregnant woman turned to the Supreme Court.

And on Wednesday, the highest court in the country denied Beatriz permission to access the medical care that would save her life. El Salvador’s Supreme Court took several weeks to deliberate Beatriz’s case in consultation with the Institute of Legal Medicine, which advises the court on medical issues. The Institute determined that Beatriz’s health “was not yet in absolute danger.”

There are no options left. “We cannot appeal the case because this was the last step, the Supreme Court,” Victor Hugo Mata, the lawyer representing Beatriz, told CBS News.

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A petition was started Wednesday night urging Pope Francis to intervene and pressure the Salvadoran government “to spare Beatriz’s life.” Amnesty International also has a petition on its website asking El Salvador to act.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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