Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Salvadoran President: Pregnant Woman in Abortion Debate Has “Right to Choose”

El Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes said that an infirm and pregnant woman has the “right to choose” whether or not to abort her deformed fetus.

“The one who has the right to decide over her life and that of her son is ‘Beatriz’ and not the organizations trying to take advantage of her situation,” said Funes at the inauguration of a public works project yesterday.

He added that he’s well aware that the woman known as “Beatriz” has her life  “in danger” and said that he has created a medical commission that will “decide the best path to ensure (her) safety and well being.”

The 22-year-old “Beatriz” is approximately five months pregnant and doctors have informed her that her fetus is missing a large part of its brain and skull. The fetus may not survive past childbirth while “Beatriz” could also die since her body is severely weakened by lupus, kidney disease and hypertension.

The case of “Beatriz” has divided Salvadorans regarding the very sensitive issue of abortion with Catholic officials and conservatives on one side and women’s rights groups and pro-birth control activists on the other.  The case has even split some government authorities with the heath ministry arguing in favor of abortion while officials with forensic medicine opposed to it.

For her part, “Beatriz” would like to go ahead with the abortion:

"I'd like [people in the outside world] to respect my decision. I want to tell them that I'd feel better if I was allowed to have an interruption," she told the Observer…
Beatriz said she hoped for a rapid decision (from El Salvador’s Supreme Court) before her situation worsens. "I feel bad because of all of this, because they don't want to help me," she said. "I'm not seriously ill, but I feel bad, because I get really tired and I'm short of breath ... I'd like them to interrupt the pregnancy now."
El Salvador is one of three Latin American countries where abortion is illegal in all circumstances and doctors who end the life of a fetus could face twelve years in prison. 

The country’s top court was asked to rule on the matter on 17 April, but it has withheld a decision, pending further tests.  In the meanwhile, the fate of “Beatriz” and her unborn child remain in the balance as the debate over abortion in El Salvador keeps heating up.

Video Source – YouTube via Noticiero Univision

Online Sources – Que.es; La Pagina (El Salvador); LifeSiteNews.com; The Guardian

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