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El Salvador: Woman denied life-saving treatment

Update, 5 June
After an agonising 14 week wait, Beatriz has finally had a the life-saving treatment she needed and has had a cesarean section in El Salvador. The foetus apparently was born, as predicted, with large parts of her head and brain missing, and did not survive. Beatriz is in hospital and we wish her a speedy and full recovery.

Our colleagues in El Salvador have sent their thanks for all of your actions, supporting her and them in their campaign. Your support was invaluable - thank you.

A pregnant woman with serious health problems is being denied access to an abortion without which she is likely to die. 

Beatriz, who has a one year old son, has been requesting the treatment for over a month on the advice of her doctors, who have diagnosed her as being at high risk of pregnancy-related death. 


However, abortion is banned under all circumstances in El Salvador, even where a woman or girl has been raped or, like Beatriz, her life is at stake. Under Article 133 of the Salvadoran Penal Code, anyone who provides or tries to access abortion faces a lengthy prison sentence. 


On 30 April, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted Beatriz protective measures and urged the State to act within 72 hours to safeguard her life and health. We must put pressure on the El Salvador authorities now to ensure they comply with the IACHR measures.


Every day that passes places Beatriz at greater risk.  

This action is now closed.

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Serious health problems

Beatriz has been diagnosed as being at high risk of pregnancy-related death if she continues with her pregnancy.


She suffers from health problems including the auto-immune disease lupus and kidney disease, and suffered serious complications during her previous pregnancy.


Three scans have confirmed that the foetus is anencephalic (lacking a large part of its brain and skull), which in almost all cases results in death before or within a few hours or days of birth.


Beatriz's doctors have requested permission from the authorities to go ahead with the termination, in accordance with her wishes, but are yet to receive assurances that they will not be prosecuted if they do.


Beatriz’s lawyers have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Justice, to ask for access to therapeutic abortion; however the court is yet to rule. Every day that Beatriz waits for a decision is increasing her physical and mental anguish, and further degrading her health.

This action is now closed.

What will we do with your name?

We will add your name, but not your phone number, to the following letter which we will fax to the Salvadoran authorities: 


Dear President/ Estimado Sr. Presidente,


Re: Protection measures ordered for Breatriz 


We are writing to express our deepest concern for Beatriz who has still not been given life saving termination of her pregnancy even though she will risk her life by giving birth.


Beatriz suffers from health conditions that put her life at risk while she is pregnant. She has a history of lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the person's own tissue. She also has other medical conditions, including kidney disease related to the lupus. She also suffered serious complications during her previous pregnancy of her first child who would be left without a mother if she did not survive.


Beatriz has been diagnosed as being at high risk of pregnancy-related death if she continues with the pregnancy. Three scans have also confirmed that the foetus is anencephalic (lacking a large part of the brain and skull), with most cases not surviving birth or will not live after a few hours or days after birth.


Beatriz is now four-and-a-half months into her pregnancy and it is crucial that she receives the needed treatment urgently to save her life.


We urge you to comply immediately with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights instruction of 29 April and provide Beatriz with the necessary medical treatment, in accordance with her wishes and as recommended by her doctors, in order to save her life; within the next 72 hours.


We further urge you to immediately ensure that health professionals are able to give Beatriz the treatment she needs, without any risk of criminal prosecution, and to decriminalise abortion in all circumstances and ensure women and girls have safe and legal access to abortion services necessary to preserve their life or health, or if they are pregnant as a result of rape.


We thank you in advance for your attention and look forward to receiving a reply.  We can be contacted via Amnesty International UK. 

Prefer to write your own letter?

If you'd prefer not to text, you can write directly to the authorities in El Salvador. For the full details of the case and who to write to, download the case sheet at the bottom.

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Stethoscope image by jasleen_kaur used under a creative commons license

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1 comment

Please help us save Beatriz' life and give her the treatment she needs.

Lotus White 11 years ago