Beatriz wanted to live and be happy
#Justice for Beatriz
Beatriz's story is not the only one
In 1997, El Salvador's Penal Code was reformed to establish the prohibition of abortion.Since then, women who suffer a health emergency during pregnancy have been persecuted.
According to the "From Hospital to Prison" investigation, 181 cases were prosecuted between 1998 and 2019, which allows "identifying the legal impact of the current penalizing legislation." As of today, the number of cases prosecuted has increased to 196.
Beatriz's case is emblematic because it exposed the serious consequences of the criminalization of abortion, restriction that prevented her from accessing an abortion in a timely manner when her life and health were at risk.
Terminating a pregnancy in El Salvador, legally and safely, has been practically impossible since 1998. With the reform of the Penal Code, El Salvador became one of the last countries in the world to maintain a total ban on abortion. Since then, Salvadoran women are forced to continue with pregnancies even when they are the result of rape, even when their life or health is at risk, or when serious genetic malformations are diagnosed in the product that make life outside the uterus unviable. They are accused of having caused the abortions even without evidence or even when the evidence shows otherwise.
Since this legal setback, the Salvadoran State has ignored international agreements, has ignored the calls of expert organizations in health and human rights such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United Nations (UN) Women who have argued that the total prohibition of abortion is a serious violation of human rights and have urged States to modify their regulatory frameworks to eliminate the criminalization of abortion that affects women in general, but especially the least served, the most vulnerable, those who have fewer opportunities to succeed.
According to the current penal code, women in situations of abortion can be sentenced to up to 8 years in prison, or up to 50 when charged with "aggravated homicide". Criminalizing and imprisoning even women who suffer miscarriages.
El Salvador's Ministry of Health (MINSAL) estimates that 20,000 illegal and unsafe abortions occurred between 2005 and 2008 alone, despite the total ban. In 2011, the WHO reported that 11 percent of women who underwent illegal abortions in the country died as a result of unsafe procedures, performed illegally and clandestinely, without the care of trained health personnel, without the use of appropriate technology or clinical supplies recommended and used in the world.
Beatriz exposed to the world the serious impacts generated by absolute criminalization of abortion in El Salvador: the prohibition mainly affects women who live in vulnerable situations and goes against the protection of life and health. The health professionals are afraid to alert them or intervene; women run the latent risk of dying during pregnancy or of being imprisoned for suffering any medical complication during pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, health professionals are unable to save women's lives: They are afraid to alert them or intervene in high-risk pregnancies because they cannot offer them the option of terminating them, even if they need it.
Beatriz's story demonstrates that there are abortions that when denied become acts of torture and violations of the rights of women and their families.
"I wouldn't want other women to go through what I went through, that's why I have filed a lawsuit against the State." Beatriz, 2015
Beatriz's story reflects the reality of millions of women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Join the petition for #JusticiaParaBeatriz!