Inter-American Court Calls on El Salvador to Allow Abortion
Created: 2013-06-01 10:39 EST
The regional human rights court for the Americas on Thursday (May 30) told El Salvador it must let doctors perform an abortion on a woman carrying a seriously deformed fetus.
The action came after El Salvador's Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday rejecting an appeal brought by the 22-year-old woman at the centre of the case.
She seeks an abortion at 26 weeks of pregnancy, even though El Salvador banned all types of abortion in 1999.
Those found guilty of early terminations face lengthy jail sentences.
The woman uses the name "Beatriz" to protect her identity.
Her fetus has a serious brain condition resulting in little or no chance of survival after birth.
Beatriz, meanwhile, suffers from lupus and kidney problems, posing a grave threat to her own health.
Salvadoran activist Mima Herrera says the Inter-American Convention protects Beatriz’s rights.
[Mima Herrera, Salvadoran Activist]:
"The Salvadoran state must adopt and guarantee urgently all the measures necessary and effective so that the medical group treating Beatriz may adopt—without interference—the medical measures deemed convenient and appropriate to ensure the proper protection of the sacred rights in the Inter-American Convention."
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is part of the rights framework for the 35 members of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS).
The court wrote that "the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those of the unborn child.”
Salvadoran Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez says the controversial case is now in the hands of the doctors.
[Maria Isabel Rodriguez, Salvadoran Health Minister]:
"We give the medical team the responsibility to monitor the case in the way the technical groups deem necessary. The moment this woman is in danger, the medical team will be authorised to take the corresponding decision."
Attitudes to abortion in Latin America are slowly changing with some countries like Argentina and Colombia permitting abortions in the case of rapes.