Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Oct. 2018): 143: 121–126

19 Pages Posted:  

Alyson Zureick

NYU Reproductive Justice Clinic

Amber Khan

National Advocates for Pregnant Women

Angeline Chen

New York University (NYU), School of Law

Astrid Reyes

New York University (NYU), School of Law

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

El Salvador’s criminal abortion law—one of the few in the world that prohibits all abortions and that is actively enforced against women—harms women’s health and undermines the ethical duties of Salvadoran physicians and the standing of the medical profession. Under the criminal abortion regime, physicians are incentivized to disclose their patients’ confidential medical information, in violation of their ethical duties, and public health care facilities have become sites of criminal investigation. These investigations target women not only for illegal abortions but also for miscarriages and obstetric emergencies. The ban further prevents physicians from providing medical care that is often necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health. Finally, by criminalizing women’s pregnancy outcomes, the regime undermines the country’s recent public health improvement efforts and compounds the marginalization of women and girls from its most vulnerable communities, in violation of the state’s international human rights obligations.

Keywords: Abortion legislation; Criminalization, El Salvador, International human rights, Medical ethics, Reproductive health, Public hospitals

JEL Classification: I18, J13, K10, I10

Suggested Citation

Zureick, Alyson and Khan, Amber and Chen, Angeline and Reyes, Astrid, Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition (2018). International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Oct. 2018): 143: 121–126. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Alyson Zureick (Contact Author)

NYU Reproductive Justice Clinic ( email )

245 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Amber Khan

National Advocates for Pregnant Women ( email )

15 West 36th St
Suite 901
New York, NY 10018-7910
United States

Angeline Chen

New York University (NYU), School of Law ( email )

Astrid Reyes

New York University (NYU), School of Law ( email )

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