• Thu, May 30 2013

Beatriz And Her Baby Will Die And Her Son Will Be Left Motherless So Explain To Me How This Decision Is ‘Pro-Life’

Beatriz El Salvador Denied Life Saving AbortionYesterday El Salvador’s Supreme Court ruled against allowing a 22-year-old mother to have an abortion that would save her life and terminate the pregnancy of the fetus she has growing inside her. Doctors have determined the fetus has anencephaly, a birth defect in which parts of the brain and skull are missing. Beatriz, as she is known as, also suffers from lupus, and complications from her pregnancy which is now at 26 weeks will continue until she gives birth to the infant that will die after it is born. Due to carrying her pregnancy to term, Beatriz will probably also die. And there is nothing we can do about it. From The New York Times:

In the ruling, the court cited doctors as saying that “an eventual interruption of the pregnancy would not imply, much less have as an objective, the destruction of the fetus.”

Beatriz’s lawyer, however, described the ruling as “misogynistic” because it placed the rights of a fetus with little chance of surviving after birth over the welfare of a sick woman who already has an infant boy to care for.

“The court placed the life of the anencephalic baby over Beatriz’s life,” said Víctor Hugo Mata, one of her lawyers, speaking by phone from the Supreme Court. “Justice here does not respect the rights of women.”

Last month, a group of doctors overseeing Beatriz’s care at the National Maternity Hospital sent a report to the Health Ministry arguing that as the pregnancy progressed, the risk of hemorrhaging, kidney failure and maternal death would increase.

Beatriz is a mother of one. Not only will she probably die, her infant will only live a few hours, and she will be leaving a child motherless. El Salvador has some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in Latin America, and doesn’t even allow abortion in cases or rape or incest. If doctors were to intervene and perform the abortion that would save Beatriz’s life, they would face criminal charges. Women who undergo abortions in El Salvador face up to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide. Beatriz could possibly obtain a special humanitarian visa and travel to the United States to have an abortion, but her doctors say the trip would pose too many health risks. Every day that she remains pregnant is putting her life in jeopardy. Her infant has no chance of survival beyond a few hours, and this pregnancy will kill her. There is a petition asking Pope Francis to intervene on Change.org, and I signed it knowing that it won’t do a bit of good anyway.

This decision doesn’t protect the sanctity of life. If abortion is murder, then what is forcing a woman to go to term with a baby that will die anyway and a pregnancy that will kill her in any way pro-life?

(image: Fotomicar/shutterstock)

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  • chickadee

    The fetus has little chance of surviving? It has NO chance, since it will be born with no brain and will die hours after birth. If by some ‘miracle’ it does survive, it will be barely sentient. Because NO BRAIN. Much like the Supreme Court in El Salvador, apparently.

  • Athena

    This is mind-boggling. The baby will die anyway!! So they’d rather two people die just because they are against abortions? They are sentencing this woman to death and leaving her healthy child motherless. This is beyond horrible.

  • Alex Lee

    I’m thinking this is what happens when there is no separation of church and state.

    Signed the petition, for all the good that it will do.

    I can’t argue for their side – I’ll just end up making them sound like fundamentalists.

  • Myriam

    At 26 weeks, maybe they could induce, let the baby be born, and let it die on its own… rather than terminating the pregnancy. That would be a still-birth, rather than an abortion, right?

    • LoveyDovey

      The induction might still kill the mother though. A medical termination would take most of the stress off of her body and increase her chance of survival.

    • Melissa

      Inductions are sometimes considered abortions anyways. I’m not clear on the legalities, but when I was miscarrying at 19 weeks, I was told that if we decided to augment the labor with induction meds, that it would be considered an abortion, even if the baby took a breath after delivery. Even though there was no chance of survival at 19 weeks whether the baby was born alive or not. This is in the state of Massachusetts.

  • Amber

    This is disgusting. Anyone who sees this as some kind of victory is a vile human being. They are murdering a young woman to “save” an infant with no chance of survival. This is evil.

  • lin

    I signed, because I feel so helpless and enraged and at least she may find some small comfort that people are fighting for her.

  • Pamela

    Most people who identify as pro-life are only pro-embryo/fetus. Pro-life just sounds nicer. But I’m sure they’ll get theirs one day. When it happens to one of them or one of their family members, they’ll be sorry they pretty much advocated for Beatriz to die.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

    I signed the petition, but honestly, what good will it do? I don’t see Pope Francis stepping in to change anything, seeing as Catholics are some of the most solid anti-choicers out there. I live in a small town, where ALL we have is a Catholic hospital. If you are in need of an abortion, medical necessity or not, you have to drive at least an hour, because every medical facility within a 50 mile radius is a subsidiary of our hospital. You can’t even get your tubes tied here.

    This sucks. If they started a fund to donate for her travel to a country where she could get an abortion, and have a medical professional travel with her to tend to any health issues traveling may cause, I would donate. That poor girl.

  • Melissa

    Even if the baby was healthy, the pro-lifers would be making the same argument. They always put the health of the fetus above the health of the mother. The fact that the baby is likely not to survive (although it should be noted that while “anencephaly” translates to “no brain”, many babies with anencephaly do have some brain tissue, just not enough to survive long-term) just emphasizes how weak the pro-life argument is when the mother’s life is at stake.

    But then I wonder why the woman is pregnant in the first place if she is at such risk. Did she know the risk ahead of time? Lupus carries a lot of complications for pregnancies, so I can’t help but thinking that the mother needs to bear some responsibility for getting pregnant if she knew that there would be a significant risk to her or her baby’s life. Not that life-threatening complications can always be predicted, but when risk is known and a person ignores that risk, what is their liability?

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Could have been an accidental pregnancy, lack of access to birth control, birth control failure, the result of rape, any number of reasons, maybe she was in good health at the beginning. It’s not like she could have just gotten an abortion in the first trimester or something.

    • Amber

      Hear that everybody? If you have lupus and get pregnant, it’s your fault when a government kills you.

      Good to know Melissa, thanks for that.

    • Rachel Sea

      She might not have access to reliable birth control – and even if she does, no method is 100% effective.

      She also may have had a healthy first pregnancy, and thought a second would be possible.

    • Aldonza

      She does have a healthy child, so not knowing the details of her first pregnancy, if everything went along okay in the first, then whatever risk her Lupus would pose may have seemed worth it if it had been a normal pregnancy. But I think putting blame on the woman in the circumstances is no more helpful than blaming a woman who wore a short skirt and is assaulted.

    • Melissa’s Good Twin

      Because in a religiously Catholic country, access to birth control is nearly impossible?

  • CrazyFor Kate

    This is why women who already have these rights need to fight to protect them, as well as working to ensure change in other parts of the world. Take away our reproductive autonomy and you get this. Women’s lives are apparently not very precious to the powers-that-be these days.

  • Annie

    I just can’t comprehend this. Don’t they understand what’s going to happen? Are they afraid of a “slippery slope” of… what, women wanting life-saving procedures?

    • Anne Cordelia

      No, no, see, you’re trying to use REASON. Tha’s not what they’re using; they’re using “faith.” And I put it in quotes because this terrible injustice that they’re commiting has no bearing on real religion of any kind; it is blind adherence to policies that keep women down, and they’re using religion as an excuse. It’s so disgusting.

    • Annie

      That’s abundantly clear but I just can’t. Fuck. This is the worst, most helpless feeling and I want more than anything to be rich enough to fly to her country, find her, and have facilitated a “safe” illegal abortion (oxymoron).

      https://www.womenonweb.org/ until abortion is available to everyone, whether it’s lifesaving or not.

    • Anne Cordelia

      Thanks for the link!

    • Annie

      No problem, spread the word! There are a number of organizations like this.

  • A-nony-mous

    I don’t mean to go OT but stories like this are why I just get so flippin mad at anti-choicers here in North America who want the US and Canada to switch [back] to this sort of madness like it’s a good thing. The idea that anyone could think of this happening at all, let alone routinely, as a victory just makes me want to cry.

    Isn’t there some place we can donate money to her? So that she could fly up to the US and have the abortion she needs at donor expense?

    • mg1313

      If the mom is a week away from giving birth abortion is the murder of a child.That means that there is a place before then where it is in-between ok and not ok. Nobody is sure where that place is. That is called a gray area.

  • Guest

    So she’s rich enough to go get lawyered up but not rich enough to just go on “Vacation” and get an abortion in a different country? What am I missing?

    • LoveyDovey

      The fact that her health makes it risky? Read the article.

    • Annie

      What makes you think she had the money to lawyer up? I’m sure any number of lawyers would take on a case like this pro-bono.

      Even if not, it’s not as easy to leave El Salvador as it is the States or UK.

  • manderspanders

    At this point, at 26 weeks, the pregnancy would have been considered “viable”. I don’t see why they can’t induce and try to “save” the unsave-able baby. And yes, I’m well aware of what anencephaly is that those babies DON’T live. But the fact of the matter is that she doesn’t NEED an abortion, as that terminates the life of the baby. She needs to deliver the baby and allow nature to take it’s course! In America, she would be able to have an emergency c-section or an induction to deliver the baby. That is what should be done. A 26 week pregnancy would basically require some of the same methods to abort as to induce. If there is a substantial medical risk to induction/c-section, then there would be for an abortion as well. This really has little to do with being “pro-life” or “pro-choice” and more about common sense medical procedures in pregnancy. If she were in America, and pre-eclamptic at 26 weeks, she would be induced or have an emergency c-section because the baby would be considered viable… they wouldn’t have an abortion. And we really shouldn’t set that precedent, that it is ok to terminate the life of the baby late in pregnancy. If the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother at a late stage, then she needs to deliver, and in America, she would. Of course, if they knew this very early on, then she should have been allowed an abortion, as it would have been easier on her… but I don’t know enough about this to draw that conclusion.

    • Aldonza

      My understanding is that the labor will be much more difficult for her body to take than an abortion procedure, and thus her survival chances were greater with the abortion.

    • manderspanders

      And what do you think they do during a 26 week abortion with baby weighing 1-2lbs?? They have to ripen the cervix, just like in an induction… then what? Then they have to artificially rupture membranes, just like an induction (which may cause contractions). Then maybe they inject the baby with drugs to kill it, maybe they just try to spear the the brainstem to kill it… I don’t know. How do you think the baby is removed? Maybe all at once if the uterus can expell it; maybe by special types of forceps that can rip the baby apart (even if it didn’t die already). Late abortions ARE NOT easier on anyone. I support access to abortion in the first trimester, the earlier the better. But being 34 weeks along myself, I find it absolutely disgusting that anyone that thinks that a baby of 24 weeks+, who if born prematurely would be SAVED and in a NICU is somehow different from one that a woman doesn’t want. After 24 weeks, a life threatening condition to mother or baby automatically means delivering the baby, not having an abortion…and that should remain the LEGAL precedent as well as medical standard of practice.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      The fetus in question is missing it’s brain and part of it’s skull. It will not live, even at full term, and it’s killing Beatriz.

    • allisonjayne

      That’s so nice that being pregnant makes you the expert on all pregnancies ever!

  • Tusconian

    This is what happens when people’s ambiguous “morals” take over the law. And I bet not a single one of those lawmakers is gearing up to adopt her son, much less the coming baby if it by some fluke survives for more than a few hours.

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  • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

    What we fail to get here is that the right to life ends at birth. Beatriz once HAD a right to life, but it ended with her birth. At that point, she was required to get pregnant and give birth as the price of having sex, i.e. LIVING. Her unborn child’s right to life must be protected; once it is born, its death will be a post-birth tragedy, and therefore acceptable. Beatriz’s already-born child has lost its right to life by being born too, and will just have to live without a mom by pulling its own bootstraps.

    This is a FEATURE of anti-choice laws, not a bug.

  • blessed

    A very slippery slope to start judging whose life is more valuable. Certainly that is a tough spot for her to be in but still doesn’t justify murder

  • jimm58

    More death in the name of religion. Nothing new here.