Pending decision by human rights court threatens to legalize abortion throughout Latin America

Pregnant Credit Unsplash  CNA Unsplash.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) is deliberating a case that has the potential to legalize abortion throughout Latin America. The abortion lobby has seized on the case of Beatriz, a Salvadoran woman who was seriously ill and pregnant with a fatally disabled child who died shortly after birth.

The lobby is exploiting the case to force the issue of abortion as a solution to hard cases and thus open the door to abortion on demand.

In an effort to prevent such a decision by the court, more than 40 organizations demonstrated this week in front of the IACHR’s building in Costa Rica to demand that the judges not issue a verdict in favor of the “abortion industry.”

The demonstration, called by the National Front for Life, was held in the town of San Pedro de Montes de Oca, where the judges are in session.

The participating organizations are demanding that the judges recognize the right to life of Leilani, the baby girl in the case of Beatriz v. El Salvador.

The court’s deliberations could end in a ruling that legalizes the practice of abortion throughout the continent, endangering the right to life of unborn children.

The Beatriz case

Beatriz, a vulnerable woman who suffered from lupus, was pregnant with her second daughter, who was diagnosed with anencephaly. It was an at-risk pregnancy, but it did not endanger the life of Beatriz, as long as she was given appropriate prenatal care.

However, Salvadoran abortion groups reportedly convinced Beatriz that she was going to die if she didn’t have an abortion and that her baby was not really alive. Fearing that her first child would become an orphan, she requested the Salvadoran state to authorize an abortion.

After a medical examination that determined that the pregnancy did not put the mother’s life at risk, the state rejected the request, and on June 3, 2013, Beatriz gave birth to her daughter, an anencephalic baby.

The little girl, named Leilani, died five hours later due to her condition. Contrary to what abortion groups maintained, Leilani breathed, cried, received the love of her mother, and had a birth certificate.

Beatriz recovered well from the cesarean section, and months later, under pressure from the abortion lobby, she filed her case with the Inter-American Court, requesting that abortion be legalized so that no other woman would have to suffer what she experienced.

However, Beatriz visited her daughter’s grave in the cemetery and brought her flowers. In 2017, Beatriz died as a result of a motorcycle accident, and there is no evidence that her death was related to the birth of Leilani.

The court’s decision

If the Inter-American Court gives in to pressure from abortion groups, the practice could be required throughout the continent, since, although the sentences issued by the court are mandatory for the Organization of American States (OAS) member states directly involved in the case, it is debated whether the court’s rulings are also binding on all the states that belong to the organization.

With this ruling, the right to be born throughout Latin America would be put at risk, especially for people with disabilities and in vulnerable situations.

In countries where abortion is legal, a large percentage of children with Down syndrome are killed before birth and the practice is extended to different types of disabilities, even in situations of extreme poverty.

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This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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