Sisterhood Blog

Beatriz is Dying: Religion’s Interference Endangers Women’s Lives

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images
Members of Amnesty International protest in support of Beatriz in front of El Salvador’s embassy in Mexico City on May 29.

The old second-wave feminist slogan goes: “Not the church; not the state; women must decide our fate.”

The horrifying case occurring in El Salvador today is an example of both church and state brutally interfering in the endangered life of a woman for the sake of misogynistic ideology.

Beatriz is a young mother in heavily Catholic El Salvador with a number of severe medical conditions and carrying a non-viable pregnancy. In her strictly anti-abortion country, doctors still advised a therapeutic termination — as did a number of international human rights agencies — but the procedure has been repeatedly denied.

Instead, justice has been forestalled and a mother’s life is in danger. Pressure from the bishops and a recent, disheartening ruling from El Salvador’s Supreme Court mean that Beatriz’s fate remains in limbo, her prognosis grimmer each day. From the New York Times story on the court ruling:

Beatriz’s lawyer…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.

It’s terrifying to watch someone, even someone you don’t know, get closer and closer to death because of outdated and draconian rules. It’s also terrifying to know that the extreme policies in countries like El Salvador are being sought by conservatives here in the States.

Women like Beatriz have a right to choose to preserve their own lives — and that is Beatriz’s choice.

Beatriz has also spoken out about her situation. In a video uploaded on Vimeo she pleads in Spanish, “I don’t want to do it but I know the child won’t live and I think it is the only way to save my life.”

The court’s denial of her wish for bodily autonomy is heartless — and infuriating. Some activists are even petitioning the Pope, begging for any possible reprieve, while RH Reality Check has set up a fund to help local groups advocating for Beatriz’s life.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: reproductive rights, abortion, Sisterhood, Jewish Women, El Salvador

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.