Abortion

El Salvador Total Abortion Ban Threatens Mother's Life

Has a case before country's supreme court

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Beatriz spends her days in a hospital room, anxiously watching her belly grow.

Her doctors say she is inching along a high-risk pregnancy that could ultimately kill her, fraught with risks caused by lupus and other complications. The fetus itself has such a severe birth defect that it has almost no chance of surviving, they say, urging an end to the pregnancy to protect Beatriz's health before it gets worse. But in El Salvador, where she lives, abortion is illegal under any circumstances.

Now she is waiting for the Salvadoran Supreme Court to rule on her case, which has quickly become a focal point in a broad battle over abortion in Latin America, a largely conservative region where the Roman Catholic Church holds considerable sway.