El Salvador Upholds Right to Life of Mother and Child in Beatriz Case

International   |   Adam Cassandra   |   Jun 3, 2013   |   6:02PM   |   San Salvador, El Salvador

The Supreme Court of El Salvador ruled 4-1 on Wednesday to uphold the country’s life-protecting laws and denied a petition to allow doctors to perform an abortion on a 22-year-old woman known only as Beatriz. In its decision, the court noted (contrary to the claims of those using Beatriz’s difficult situation to legalize abortion in El Salvador) that her life was in no immediate danger from her pregnancy.

“The rights of the mother cannot be privileged over the rights of the unborn or vice versa,” the Court’s decision read in part. The decision referenced Article 1, Section 2 of El Salvador’s Constitution which protects human life from conception until natural death in their ruling. It is unlawful to obtain an abortion under any circumstances in El Salvador, though it is not illegal to save the life of the mother.

Taking into account that she is currently in stable condition, the Court said doctors should continue to monitor Beatriz’s health and provide necessary treatment to ensure her continued well-being. Doctors should also ensure, to every extent possible, that the life of her baby is also protected.

Human Life International (HLI) President Father Shenan J. Boquet applauded the decision, and called for prayers for Beatriz, her unborn child, and the country of El Salvador.

“Despite the media narrative that an immediate ‘life-saving abortion’ was necessary for Beatriz, this decision brings to light what the pro-life community, especially HLI’s El Salvador affiliate Yes to Life Foundation, has been saying all along: this young woman has not been denied any treatment to save her life, she is in stable condition, and most importantly, both mother and child have a right to life,” said Father Boquet. “It is the pro-life position, as is the position of the Court, to do everything possible to save the lives of both the mother and child because both lives are sacred and deserve protection.”

“We pray for the health of Beatriz, for her child, and that the people of El Salvador will resist the inevitable international pressure to abandon their pro-life culture and legal protection of life from conception until natural death,” Father Boquet said.

In a case that has received international attention, so-called human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights publicly called for Beatriz’s child to be aborted citing a supposed risk to her health. But a recent report submitted to the Court by El Salvador’s Institute of Legal Medicine (ILM) stated, “At this time, [Beatriz] is clinically stable, which means that right now there is no imminent risk of danger of death.” The ILM recommended that Beatriz’s doctors “maintain the conservative medical treatment, that is, to continue with the pregnancy.”

ILM Director Jose Miguel Fortin said in a television interview following the report’s publication, “It is not true what Beatriz has been told, it is not true that she is in imminent risk, it is not true that she is going to improve if her child is removed from her.”

Beatriz suffers from lupus and kidney problems. Adding to the complicated nature of the case, Beatriz’s unborn child is anencephalic (missing part of the brain and skull), and is not given a high probably of survival once born. Many of those pushing to have Beatriz’s child aborted cited her unborn child’s disability as a greater incentive to abort since the child “isn’t capable of life” as one radical pro-abortion group stated. But anencephalic babies can live for weeks, and even years.

Yes to Life Foundation President Julia Regina de Cardenal has continually offered her organization’s support to help Beatriz and her unborn child through this stressful situation: “We provide all kinds of assistance to mothers who have difficult cases. … Beatriz, we’re here to help.”

“Abortion always destroys a life. There is nothing life-saving about it, and it is not a medical treatment,” said Father Boquet. “Medical professionals who take the oath to ‘do no harm’ should never intentionally kill as a treatment. And that those with disabilities are once again being publicly labeled as unworthy of life is gravely concerning.”

LifeNews.com Note:  Reprinted with permission from Human Life International’s World Watch forum. Adam Cassandra is a Communications Specialist at Human Life International.