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Salvadoran Woman Denied Abortion To Terminate Dangerous Pregnancy Delivers Via Caesarean Section

“An ill Salvadoran woman who had asked the courts for — and been denied — an abortion during a high-risk pregnancy delivered her 27-week-old fetus by caesarean section on Monday, the Associated Press reported,” according to the New York Times. “For months, doctors had warned the woman, Beatriz, who has lupus and related illnesses, that as the pregnancy progressed, she could become seriously ill or even die,” the newspaper notes, adding, “The fetus, they said, had anencephaly, a birth defect where parts of the brain and skull are missing, and almost no chance of survival.”

“In a 4-to-1 ruling last Wednesday, the country’s Supreme Court denied an appeal from Beatriz, citing the country’s legal ‘absolute impediment to authorize the practice of abortion,'” the New York Times writes (Zabludovsky, 6/3). “The health ministry stepped in late last week after the ruling and said it would allow the c-section because the pregnancy was already at 26 weeks and the country’s strict abortion laws were no longer applicable,” The Guardian notes (6/4). “El Salvador banned all types of abortion in 1999,” according to BBC News, which adds, “The sentence for doctors and women violating that ban is 50 years in prison” (6/4). “Beatriz’s case has convulsed the region, which is known for having some of the world’s most stringent abortion laws, particularly Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua, which have bans on the procedure,” the New York Times writes (6/3).