SAN SALVADOR, May 15, 2013 (AFP) - A pregnant, chronically ill Salvadoran woman testified before the Supreme Court on Wednesday to urge the justices to allow her to proceed with an an abortion that could save her life.
Abortions are strictly forbidden in El Salvador, where the sentence for violating the ban is 50 years in prison.
The 22 year-old woman, who gave her name only as Beatriz, is the mother of a two-year-old boy and is 23 weeks pregnant.
She was recently diagnosed with lupus, a disease that weakens her autoimmune system, and doctors said that the fetus she carries has anencephaly, a total or partial absence of the brain and the skull.
The child will likely die upon birth, according to the doctors.
The magistrates "have decided to hear Beatriz as part of the process that is taking place to make a decision," a Supreme Court spokesperson told AFP.
Salvadoran Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez earlier asked the justices to grant Beatriz special permission to undergo the procedure, and exempt the doctors involved from any legal consequences.
The woman's mother, Maria Delmy Cortez, published an open letter in leading newspapers asking the court to rule in favor of her daughter.
Around 100 activists belonging to feminist groups held signs and marched outside the Supreme Court demanding that Beatriz be allowed to undergo an abortion.