Beatriz wanted to live and be happy

#Justice for Beatriz


A young woman/mother, from a rural area of El Salvador, in extreme poverty and with lupus, who fought against the Salvadoran State to allow her to terminate a second pregnancy after her baby was diagnosed as anencephalic, a malformation that prevents the skull and brain from developing and makes life outside the womb impossible.

A year ago, at the age of 21, Beatriz became a mother, after several hospital medical interventions for a high-risk pregnancy due to severe anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, arterial hypertension, preeclampsia and lupus aggravated with lupus nephropathy. After a cesarean section, she met her premature son after 38 days of hospitalization.

When her son was only 9 months old, Beatriz became pregnant again. This time, her body was less able to support and carry the pregnancy to term, but, in addition, the doctors diagnosed from the beginning that the product was malformed and that there was no hope of life once it was born. The medical staff agreed: the pregnancy had to be terminated, Beatriz's health condition, which had already deteriorated as a result of the first and recent pregnancy, worsened with each passing day.

In 2013, Beatriz's story shocked and captured people's attention, organizations, media, medical societies, opinion leaders and decision makers in different countries and regions of the world because it exposed the scandalous closed-mindedness of the Salvadoran State. Its refusal to make abortion laws and policies more flexible, as well as its lack of political will and immediate action to prevent direct harm to Beatriz -even when her life was at greater risk-, transcended territorial boundaries and triggered national and international social pressure.

Despite the medical reports that from the very beginning established the termination of the pregnancy as an immediate procedure to safeguard Beatriz's life, the social demands and demands of social organizations, as well as the monitoring of human rights organizations, the Salvadoran State refused to authorize the procedure. Beatriz was forced to continue with the unviable pregnancy for almost 3 more months, at the cost of the detriment of her health and the loss of years of life.

Finally, following the intervention of the IACHR Court, the Salvadoran State was forced to perform the pregnancy termination procedure on June 3. Seven days later, Beatriz was discharged as requested.

Beatriz, the woman who exposed to the world the serious impacts of the absolute criminalization of abortion in El Salvador, died on October 8, 2017. Her deteriorated state of health, due to the disease she suffered, caused the consequences of a traffic accident to worsen; after being discharged, she presented respiratory problems and two cardiac arrests.

Since then, the civil society organizations that accompanied Beatriz throughout the interruption process have been pursuing litigation before the IACHR against the Salvadoran State; they seek to honor Beatriz's memory and demand full reparation for the harm done to her family, measures of non-repetition for her family and measures of non-repetition for her family. to ensure that no girl or woman will be forced to go through what Beatriz went through, in addition to the modification of the regulatory framework that threatens the lives of thousands of Salvadoran women.

Las leyes salvadoreñas que afectan a mujeres por la criminalización total del aborto pueden cambiar.
La audiencia en la Corte IDH ocurrió este 22 y 23 de marzo, la sentencia marcará un precedente para El Salvador y Latinoamérica.

Join the call, let's ask for #JusticeForBeatriz.

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 pregnancy termination, a restriction that prevented her from accessing an abortion in a timely manner when her life and health were at risk.

 "We began tallying the cases, and there were several like hers." - Guillermo Ortiz, Beatriz's attending doctot 

Guillermo Ortiz, Beatriz's Attending Physician

11% of women who underwent an illegal abortion in the country died as a result. - World Health Organization, 2011 
World Health Organization, 2011

"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, 2015

Beatriz's story reflects the reality of millions of women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Join the petition for #JusticiaParaBeatriz!


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