Ill woman denied abortion recovers after C-section

AP News
Posted: Jun 04, 2013 6:58 PM

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — An ill Salvadoran woman who delivered a baby without a brain through a cesarean section after being denied a medical abortion is recovering well and has had her tubes tied as she requested, doctors said Tuesday.

The 22-year-old woman was stable and remained in intensive care because of her fragile health, doctors said.

"This is a period of high risk because of possible post-surgery complications related to her health," said Dr. Xenia Sandoval, head of the Intensive Care Unit at Maternity Hospital.

Her baby girl was born without a brain and died five hours after the woman had a C-section Monday.

The woman, known only as Beatriz for privacy reasons, underwent the operation after 27 weeks of pregnancy.

The country's Supreme Court last week prohibited an abortion for the mother of one, who suffers from lupus and kidney failure.

Her bid to end what her lawyers said was a life-threatening pregnancy drew international attention and a ruling from the Inter-American Court on Human Rights that El Salvador should protect her life and help her end the pregnancy.

El Salvador's laws prohibit all abortions, even when a woman's health is at risk. Beatriz and any doctor who terminated her pregnancy would have faced arrest and criminal charges.

There have been cases in El Salvador in which women who had abortions have been convicted of homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez criticized the Supreme Court for taking so long to rule in the case, saying it endangered the woman's life. She said the law needs to change.

"There are cases of girls that come with ectopic pregnancies and they are left to bleed to death because here it's not allowed to terminate the pregnancy," Rodriguez said. "To me that's a criminal act."

The hospital's maternity director, Dr. Antonio Ortiz, said Beatriz asked to have her tubes tied because of the health problems she had experienced in her pregnancies.

"Beatriz had serious complications during her first pregnancy and nearly died, so we didn't need to explain what can happen (if she gets pregnant again) because she has already lived through it," Ortiz said.