IACHR demands explanations to El Salvador for Beatriz's case

San José, April 8, 2015-The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an entity of the Organization of American States, gave the Salvadoran State three months to provide a report on the case of Beatriz. The Commission gave priority to the processing of this case because it considered the serious consequences that the Salvadoran legislation has on women's rights by criminalizing all types of abortion.

Following the international complaint filed by various civil society groups before the IACHR in 2013, the IACHR requested information from the State. The complaint against El Salvador is based on the human rights violations Beatriz was subjected to when she was not given the therapeutic abortion she needed to save her life.

This young Salvadoran woman, who suffers from a serious chronic illness, became pregnant at the end of 2012. Doctors recommended therapeutic abortion because her health and survival were at risk and also because the fetus had congenital anomalies incompatible with life.

However, the doctors of the public health system did not perform the termination of the pregnancy for fear of being criminally sanctioned. For its part, the Constitutional Chamber did not provide a timely or effective response to protect Beatriz's rights. Only under the protection of the measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the cesarean section was performed in the 26th week of pregnancy.

Motivated by the harm caused to Beatriz, the Feminist Collective for Local Development of El Salvador, the Citizens' Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethical and Eugenic Abortion of El Salvador, IPAS Central America and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), filed a complaint against El Salvador before the IACHR in November 2013.

The objective of this lawsuit is to ensure that other women do not have to face the suffering that Beatriz's life was put at risk. The organizations seek that the Salvadoran authorities make full reparations for the harm suffered by Beatriz, as well as modify domestic legislation to fully guarantee women's right to health, personal integrity, reproductive rights and the right to effective judicial protection.

El Salvador is currently one of only seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where abortion is absolutely prohibited by law. This means that there are no exceptions to this prohibition, not even in cases where the woman's life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape.

According to data from the Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico, between 2000 and 2011, 129 women have been prosecuted in El Salvador for the crimes of abortion or aggravated homicide, with sentences ranging from two to forty years in prison.

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