Security & Strategic Review - May 2023

EL SALVADOR/REGION: Corte-IDH hearings on El Salvador case spark hopes for abortion ban easing

At the end of March, the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Corte-IDH) held hearings on the case of a young woman known only as ‘Beatriz’, who was denied an abortion in 2013 by El Salvador despite her high-risk pregnancy. Along with the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua, El Salvador has an outright ban on abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk. Rights activists point out that this is the first time that the consequences of the blanket ban have been discussed by the Corte-IDH and have expressed hopes that a favourable Corte-IDH ruling could prove a turning point for reproductive rights in the sub-region. This comes nearly a month after Honduras’s President Xiomara Castro signed an executive order ending a ban on the use and sale of the morning-after pill. While this also was welcomed by rights activists, the state of gender rights in the sub-region remains dire.

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