El Salvador's highest court has denied a young mother's request for an abortion that could save her life, in a ruling her lawyers are blasting as "misogynistic" that underscores the country's fierce commitment to its anti-abortion laws. The 22-year-old woman, Beatriz, has complications from lupus that could lead to serious injury or death as the pregnancy progresses, while her fetus has a severe birth defect and has little likelihood of survival. “The court placed the life of the ... baby over Beatriz’s life,” Beatriz's lawyer told the New York Times. “Justice here does not respect the rights of women."
While other Latin American countries have relaxed abortion restrictions recently, El Salvador remains steadfastly against it. As a result, many illegal abortions are performed and death rates of women are high, adds CBS News. Beatriz is now in the hospital, apart from her 14-month-old son and husband. Though the hospital asked the government to grant an abortion due to the "strong probability of maternal death," the Institute of Legal Medicine ruled Beatriz's health was not in danger. "If they wait another week or two weeks, she will be too feeble to endure the operation," her lawyer said. "It isn't just an abortion, it is a necessity." (Read more abortion stories.)