A group of independent experts on human rights of the United Nations * appealed today to the government of El Salvador to provide treatment to save the life of a woman of 22 who has been diagnosed with a high risk of death related with her pregnancy.
Beatriz (her last name is omitted to protect her identity) has a number of health problems that endanger their lives during pregnancy and needs an urgent medical treatment to interrupt it and save her life. However, the procedures have not been carried out because the abortion is prohibited under any circumstances in El Salvador, according to article No. 133 of the Penal Code.
“We urge the Government of El Salvador to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and full enjoyment of the right to life and to the highest possible health standard to Beatriz in accordance with international human rights standards, ” said UN experts in health rights, torture and violence and discrimination against women, Anand Grover, John E. Mendez, Rashida Manjoo and Kamala Chandrakirana.
The diagnosis of Beatriz’s health situation was issued in March by the authorities at the Hospital National Maternity in San Salvador and was reiterated on Tuesday through by the National Bioethics Committee of El Salvador. It was also confirmed that the foetus has no chance of survival outside the womb because of the filing anencephaly.
“This uncertainty has extended the suffering of Beatriz, who has full understanding of the health of the foetus and the risk of death that she faces; she is living in a cruel, inhuman and degrading situation” independent experts stressed.
“This case illustrates the urgent need to launch a national dialogue on abortion legislation in order to consider the introduction of exceptions to the general prohibition, especially in cases of therapeutic abortion and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest”, they stressed.
An appeal was filed at the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice to ensure that medical personnel can provide Beatriz the required treatment without fear that she or medical personnel will be prosecuted. The decision is still pending.
(*) Anand Grover, Special Rapporteur on the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, John E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; Rashida Manjoo, Special Rapporteur Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and Kamala Chandrakirana, Chair of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.
Right to health: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Health/Pages/SRRightHealthIndex.aspx
Violence against women: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Health/Pages/SRRightHealthIndex.aspx
Discrimination against women:
UN Human Rights – El Salvador: http://www.ohchr.org/SP/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/SVIndex.aspx
UN Media contact EL SALVADOR:
Carlos Leon Ramos / RCO
Tel 2209-3509 / carlos.leon @ one.un.org