06.04.1312:46 PM ET

El Salvador Allows Premature Birth

For woman denied abortion of baby without a brain.

Beatriz, a 22-year-old El Salvador woman who was denied an abortion for a nonviable pregnancy that was threatening her life, has delivered her baby by Caesarian section at 27 weeks. The girl was born without a brain and is not expected to survive. Beatriz’s plight—she is known only by her first name in order to protect her privacy—focused international attention on El Salvador’s abortion ban, one of the strictest in the world. Last week, the country’s Supreme Court refused to allow her to terminate her pregnancy, despite the fact that she was suffering from lupus and kidney failure and carrying a fetus with only a brain stem. As the Associated Press reported, if she had an abortion, both she and the doctor who performed it would have faced arrest and criminal charges. The country’s Health Ministry, however, finally permitted her to end the pregnancy by giving birth prematurely. “The woman was recovering under the close watch of doctors late Monday,” the Associated Press reported.