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Passions Flare Regarding El Salvador’s No-Exceptions Abortion Policy

LADB Article ID: 78985
Category/Department: El Salvador
Date: 2013-05-30
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

The plight of a pregnant Salvadoran woman known only as "Beatriz" has drawn outrage from abroad and rekindled a raging debate at home regarding El Salvador’s zero-tolerance approach to abortion. Beatriz (not her real name), who is now more than five months pregnant, suffers from lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease that has already caused serious damage to her kidneys. The fetus she is carrying is also unwell: it has been diagnosed as anencephalic, meaning it is missing part of its skull and brain and will almost surely die either before or shortly after delivery. Doctors at San Salvador’s Hospital Nacional de Maternidad have been hoping for months to perform what they believe could be a life-saving abortion. So far, however, they have held off—out of fear that they, and Beatriz, could end up in jail for violating El Salvador’s total ban on abortions.

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