Ill mother faces jail in abortion deadlock

2013-04-18 13:15
A woman participates in a march on the International Day of Action for the Decriminalisation of Abortion in San Salvador. (Jose Cabezas, AFP)

A woman participates in a march on the International Day of Action for the Decriminalisation of Abortion in San Salvador. (Jose Cabezas, AFP)

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Cape Town – A seriously ill and pregnant El Salvadorian mother along with her doctors are being threatened with imprisonment if an abortion is carried out.

Amnesty International reported that the 22-year-old woman is four-and-a-half months pregnant and has been diagnosed with several illnesses including lupus and kidney disease.

With the help of pregnancy ultrasonography doctors have also confirmed that the child has anencephaly (no brain) elsalvador.com reported. Specialists consider the malformation as being incompatible with life.

Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez announced that the medical team was ready to perform the procedure but were waiting for approval from the Supreme Court

Esther Major, Amnesty International’s researcher on Central America said "the delay is nothing short of cruel and inhuman. The government has a duty to ensure Beatriz can access the health-saving treatment she needs".

A representative from the Association of Bioethics of El Salvador argued from a bioethical perspective and said that the life of both mother and child should be preserved.

According to the country's penal code anyone seeking or carrying out an abortion could be given a long prison sentence ranging between two to eight years.

Professor David Benatar, director of the Bioethics Centre at the University of Cape Town, says that most people would approve of the abortion.

"If it's an anencephalic foetus it is unlikely to survive, it would be an abortion of a severely defective foetus to save the mother’s life," he told News24. "Only extreme pro-lifers would not approve of this particular abortion," he added.

Benatar acknowledged that it would set a precedent for other similar cases but not for abortion on demand.


 

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  el salvador  |  human rights
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