Duplication of procedures and International res

Articles 1 (Obligation to Respect Rights), 2 (Domestic
Legal Effects), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane
Treatment), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 11 (Right to
Privacy), 13 (Freedom of Thought and Expression),
17 (Rights of the Family), 24 (Equal Protection), 25
(Judicial Protection) and 26 (Progressive
Development) of the ACHR; Articles 1, 6 and 8 of the
ICPPT; Article 7 of the Belém do Pará Convention
Yes; exception set forth in Article 46.2(b) of the
Yes; under the terms of Section VII

Rights declared admissible

Exhaustion of domestic remedies or
applicability of an exception to the rule:
Timeliness of the petition:



The petitioners claim that in El Salvador there is a structural denial of human rights that
entails the criminal prosecution, punishment and incarceration of women who suffer obstetric emergencies.
They assert that some of the contributing factors are the strict ban on abortion in force since the reform of
1998, as it protects life from the moment of conception (Art. 1 of the Constitution), and the Criminal Code
currently in force, under which all forms of abortion are punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment. They
claim that murder, as an offense connected with abortion, is punishable by thirty to fifty years of imprisonment.
They indicate that other causes of the denounced structural situation include the breach of professional
secrecy, the lack of basic rights like the presumption of innocence, the politicization of the Institute of Legal
Medicine and the use of outdated methods, the lack of a second instance in criminal matters between 1998 and
2011, and the prevalence of gender violence and discrimination in both the public and the private spheres.
According to the petition, Manuela was a poor and illiterate woman living in a rural area who
had no access to basic services, education, or birth control methods; she was a mother of two, aged 7 and 9,
whom she raised alone, as her husband had left her. The petitioners assert that Manuela had several tumors
among other symptoms, and that in August 2006 she came to the closest health unit in the area, Health Unit of
Cacaopera, located 5 kilometers away from her house. They claim that she was diagnosed as having gastritis
and given painkillers, despite her having indicated several discomforts and not having undergone any prior
examination. They claim that she actually suffered from an advanced lymphoma that was diagnosed only one
year later. They assert that, as a result, Manuela was transferred to San Francisco Gotera Hospital but was
never told of the importance of undergoing medical examinations nor assisted in getting to the hospital, even
though she had explained that, due to reasons of time and money, it was hard for her to travel from the rural
area where she lived to said hospital. The petitioners also claim that as a result of a short-lived relationship,
Manuela became pregnant though she was never sure she was expecting, and they claim that on February 26,
2008, in the seventh month of pregnancy, she had a serious fall while doing laundry in the river. They assert
that the following day, she had a precipitous labor on a pit toilet but she thought she had indigestion;
afterwards, she lost conscience and suffered a hemorrhage and a severe preeclampsia, and was taken to
They claim that, at hospital, the treating physician asked Manuela if her husband knew what
she had done and, though she asserted having had a miscarriage, the physician lodged a police report against
Manuela for induced abortion on the grounds of a pregnancy resulting from an “extramarital relation.” They
assert that, consequently, Manuela was questioned by the police, regardless of her condition, her lack of legal
representation and the lack of information about her right to a counsel. They also claim that the following day
police officers came to her house, threatened to imprison her parents they confessed, insulted her mother,
accused her of covering up for Manuela, and prepared a report that distorted the mother’s account of the facts.

Select target paragraph3