Between this March 22 and 23, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights addresses the case of a young Salvadoran woman who was denied the interruption of a high-risk pregnancy, in El Salvador, in 2013. The resolution of the case could set precedents in Central America.
For the first time, a complaint about abortion reaches the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
In 2013, Beatriz filed an amparo petition before the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador to be allowed to terminate her pregnancy.
The young woman had been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, lupus nephropathy and rheumatoid arthritis, which is why her pregnancy was considered high risk.
In addition, the fetus that the young woman was carrying was diagnosed as anencephalic – neither the skull nor the brain had developed – for which more than a dozen doctors recommended an abortion, since there was a probability of putting her life at risk if she continued with the pregnancy. the pregnancy.
Despite the clarity of the medical reports, the Salvadoran State declared the amparo inadmissible and Beatriz had to continue with a state that put her health to the limit.
On June 3, 2013, the young Salvadoran woman underwent a cesarean section and the fetus died just five hours after labor, according to the lawsuit filed before the Inter-American Court.
Beatriz passed away in October 2017 after suffering a traffic accident on a motorcycle. However, her case marked a precedent for many defenders of the right to abortion and the fight against the harsh regulations that continue in the country on this matter..
“Justice for Beatriz, justice for all”
The case of the young Salvadoran woman is brought before the regional court by multiple feminist organizations that defend the reproductive rights of women in the region.
With slogans such as “Abortion yes, abortion no, that’s what I decide” and “justice for Beatriz, justice for all”, women from various organizations held a vigil on the eve of the hearings at the Court based in San José, Costa Rica, which take place between March 22 and 23.
“This is a very important case for El Salvador and the region because it reflects the consequences of restrictive abortion laws and the lack of women’s access to sexual and reproductive rights. It is no coincidence that the first case heard by the Court on abortion is from El Salvador,” Angelica Rivas, part of one of the groups handling the case, told EFE.
El Salvador is one of the five countries in the region where abortion is prohibited in all its forms. Additionally, existing law prosecutes women who experience miscarriages on charges of aggravated homicide.
The Government of Nayib Bukele has been reluctant to change the legal code in the country.
“There is not the slightest possibility that abortion will be legalized in El Salvador”
Ernesto Castro, president of the country’s Legislative Assembly and former secretary of the Bukele government, expressed his dissatisfaction with the lawsuit before the Inter-American Court through a publication on his Twitter profile.
Likewise, I stress that the government’s position is clear: abortion will not be legalized as long as Bukele’s party, Nuevas Ideas, remains in power, he said.
“We will always respect what the Constitution indicates, not what some organizations want to impose on us from abroad,” added the parliamentarian, referring to a possible ruling by the agency against the Salvadoran state.
Let it be totally clear:
As long as Nuevas Ideas is a majority in the Legislative Assembly, there is not the slightest possibility that abortion will be legalized in El Salvador.
We defend life above all things.
— Ernesto Castro (@ECastroES) March 22, 2023
President Bukele has also been emphatic in his stance on abortion in the past. In 2021, the president presented a proposal for a constitutional reform, which excluded legalizing equal marriage, euthanasia and the interruption of pregnancy.
“I have decided, so that there is no doubt, not to propose any type of reform to any article that has to do with the right to life, marriage, or euthanasia,” Bukele said at the time.
What would represent a failure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for El Salvador?
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is the highest legal body that safeguards respect for fundamental rights in the region. A possible ruling against the Salvadoran State would mean a major challenge for the Bukele government.
Although the court’s rulings are not binding – states are not required to change their national laws – they do carry considerable international weight.
The decisions of this international body are translated into recommendations for the States in controversy, but these verdicts generate international pressure.
If the recommendations are not fulfilled, States usually see their international credibility diminished, which affects their political and commercial relations with a large part of the international community.
The decision of the Court in the Beatriz case would set a regional precedent and the eyes of the world would rest on the Administration of Nayib Bukele, with the question of whether the controversial leader would follow the recommendations of the Court or not.
With EFE and RFI