Supreme Court In El Salvador Rules Against Woman Seeking Abortion, New York Times Reports

“El Salvador’s highest court on Wednesday denied an appeal from a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to be allowed to undergo an abortion, upholding the country’s strict law banning abortion under any circumstances,” the New York Times reports. “Beatriz, a 22-year-old woman who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her identity, has lupus and related complications that doctors say will get worse as the pregnancy, which is in its 26th week, continues, possibly leading to serious illness or even death,” the newspaper notes, adding, “Her fetus, which has anencephaly, a severe birth defect in which parts of the brain and skull are missing, has almost no chance of surviving after birth, leading her doctors to urge an abortion to protect Beatriz’s health before it deteriorates further.”

“But in a 4-to-1 ruling, the court cited the country’s legal ‘absolute impediment to authorize the practice of abortion,’ and ruled that ‘the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those’ of the fetus,” the newspaper continues (Zabludovsky/Palumbo, 5/29). In a separate article, the newspaper examines how the case “has quickly become a focal point in a broad battle over abortion in Latin America, a largely conservative region where the Roman Catholic Church holds considerable sway.” While “[s]everal Latin American nations have softened their stances against abortion in recent years” — including Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina — “a total ban on the procedure remains in El Salvador, Chile and Nicaragua,” the New York Times writes (Zabludovsky/Palumbo, 5/28).

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