El Salvador Supreme Court Respects Constitution, Life

A person’s a person, no matter how small, even if he or she has anencephaly and will only live for a few hours after birth.

It’s a guiding principle: from the moment of conception the new human person has the right to live, and no one else’s rights can trump that right.

This fairly simple principle is enshrined in the constitution of El Salvador, which explicitly forbids abortions and protects life “from the moment of conception.”

El-Salvador-mapSo when a woman whose doctors claim may die if she carries her baby to term sued for the right to have an abortion the Supreme Court read the text of their Constitution and said sorry, but no. Not in El Salvador.

The ruling read, in part, ”This court determines that the rights of the mother cannot take precedence over those of the unborn child or vice versa, and that there is an absolute bar to authorising an abortion as contrary to the constitutional protection accorded to human persons ‘from the moment of conception’.”

Anencephaly—which is when the brain fails to develop in the fetus—does not change this because, while the child is physically incomplete, the lack of a brain is a defect, like a cleft palate or being born with no legs. These defects certainly color the life of the child, but they do not render the child not-a-child. Even when missing major parts, the child is the sort of thing that ought to have those parts if some defect had not interfered, so the humanness of the child is not taken away, thus neither are the rights of the person taken away.

The potential harm to the mother’s health also does not change this because directly intending a death to prevent a potential death can never be justified except in the case of resisting unjust aggression. In this El Salvador case, while her doctors claimed she would almost certainly die if she carried the baby to term, other doctors disagreed.

“Health and well-being of the mother” is a loophole large enough to drive a truck through when accommodating pro-abortion doctors get involved. All of a sudden a few days of bad feelings are diagnosed as suicidal tendencies and the baby gets the sharp-toothed forceps. Or worse.

But even if applied perfectly, “health and well-being of the mother” cannot justify killing the baby in the womb—he or she has just as much right to live as does the mother, and the circumstances the mother finds herself in do not, can not change that.

I’m glad some country in the West still recognizes this and will stand up for the right to live that we all possess as human persons from the moment of conception.

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Categories:Abortion Breaking News Culture Pro-Life

53 thoughts on “El Salvador Supreme Court Respects Constitution, Life

  1. KERRIE says:

    i’M SUPRIZED EL SALVATOR HAS COME FAR ENOUGH OVER THE YEARS TO THINK THIS DEEP.

    I THINK THESE CIRCUMSTANCES CALL FOR A PROCEDURE TO END THE PREGNANCY, ESPECIALLY IF IF THE MOTHER IS AT RISK.

    hUMAN BIOLOGICAL FLESH IS DIFFERENT THAN AUTHENTIC HUMAN LIFE

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Why do you hate science? And love CAPS LOCK!?

  2. SLCMLC says:

    When I first saw this story I thought it was one of those absurd hypotheticals a pro-choice person would create because obviously nobody would force a woman to risk her own health to deliver a baby that will almost surely die upon birth. Apparently I was wrong. I’ll give you this Tom, you’re consistent at least. But I would assume most pro-life people would have to admit that this is a rare example where a woman probably should have the right to choose.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      First: There is never a time when an abortion is medically necessary to save the mother’s life. Never. There is always an alternative. Second: If a person is a person from the moment of conception then there is no question that the person in the womb has just as much right to life as the person in whose womb she was conceived. The question is not “which life should we choose to end?” but “what can we do to preserve both lives?” That the child likely will not live beyond birth for more than an hour or two is entirely irrelevant because that person is still a person while it lives. We may never intentionally take an innocent life, which is what having the “right to choose” necessarily means.

      1. SLCMLC says:

        As I said, I admire your consistency. I just think that forcing this woman to give birth (even if it’s via induced labor or an early c-section), when doctors advise against it, to deliver a baby that is essentially brain dead is not right. Obviously there’s not a ton anyone can say to change your mind on this.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          But did you see the part where other doctors said that the diagnosis of almost certain death is inaccurate and that her health is actually stable? Why do you choose to go with one set of doctors rather than the other?

          Here’s a question for you: Say the baby in the womb was entirely healthy. Would it be okay to abort it then, given the mother is not certainly going to die in childbirth? If that would not be kosher, how sick or deformed would the fetus have to be for it to be okay to abort it? Why do you draw the line there?

          My mind would be tough to change because I’m not sure how to justify intentionally taking an innocent life. We may not intentionally do evil to accomplish a potential perceived good.

          1. SLCMLC says:

            We could go down the wormhole of going through every hypothetical situation and if an abortion should be allowed but I don’t think that’s the best idea to do on a website on a Friday afternoon. You have made your point clear and I applaud that you are logically consistent. I see this issue differently and I see a woman being forced to put herself at risk (inducing labor and c-sections both carry inherent risks) to deliver a fetus that has virtually no chance to live (the fact that it has no possibility of life is relevant to me, it is not a disabled baby, it is a baby with no chance for life).

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            You are wrong: that baby is alive right now. That it will not live long does not change this. How long will you or I live? Should people think it okay to off us if we become inconvenient and it’s pretty clear we don’t have much longer to live? Why are you okay with being so inconsistent and positivist with regard to life? What about the risk inherent in the abortion you think she should be allowed to have? That is also a significant “medical procedure” at 26 weeks. My position actually has some substance: yours amounts to, “Well, I think this so I’ll impose it.”

          3. SLCMLC says:

            Yes, an abortion is a medical procedure with risks. So is a c-section and so is induced labor. I have this crazy idea that when we’re talking about medical procedures on a woman’s body that the woman in question should have a say, not the government (yes, I know you’ll come back with “but who speaks for the fetus!”). A c-section is major stomach surgery with a six week recovery time and sounds like with this woman there are further complications. And then what happens? All to deliver a baby who will then die on the spot?

            As I’ve said in each post, you’re nothing if not consistent. It’s a tragic situation. But just to be very clear: there is a woman facing medical uncertainty. There is a 26 week old fetus that has virtually no chance of surviving on his own. I think she should have a choice of what happens next. You are in favor of her having no say in the matter of what happens and for the government to force her to deliver this child that will surely die immediately after birth. Not really much else to add.

          4. Tom Crowe says:

            What I am sure of is that there are two lives that equally deserve the right to life, and that all measures should be taken to assure that both lives have the best chance medical technology can provide to live. In this case that means inducing early labor, which is at least as risky as an abortion. It is, without doubt or argument, a terribly troublesome situation, but while I have consistently addressed both lives and pursued the best way to preserve both with dignity, even though one will very likely be short, you have consistently sought to justify intentionally taking the life of one of the individuals involved.

          5. SLCMLC says:

            Here’s the thing…you argue that fetus has a right to life on par with any human. You’re not mentioning as well that all humans also have a right to do what they want with their bodies and make decisions on medical procedures. This is a very, very fundamental right and there is literally no precedence in modern society that I can think of for taking away this right (outside of maybe drugs but even narcotics are basically legal under a doctor’s care. And of course euthanasia but that becomes a question of informed consent). You are intentionally taking away the right of a person to do what she wants with her body. I understand the reasoning behind you wanting to infringe on this right and can respect your view, I’d just like you (and other pro-lifers) to admit this is a BIG deal. I mean, this is basically unprecedented what you’re asking for.

          6. Tom Crowe says:

            Of course we admit it is a BIG deal—it involves the intentional taking of an innocent life. When a woman becomes pregnant her body is still her own body, but there is another person involved now. You have a notion of the body as something apart from nature: the nature of the woman’s body is that it can become pregnant when certain things happen. Once the woman’s body does its natural thing and becomes pregnant, a new human person is in the equation and what the woman does with her body affects that new human person. That new human person did not impose herself on the mother, nor did that new human person invade the mother and put her in chains. Nature took its course and a new human person now exists where there was not one before. The pro-life position is that while the woman absolutely has a right to do what she will, her rights may not infringe on the rights of others—including the new human person in her womb. I am recognizing the nature of the situation and seeking the best way to respect everyone’s right to life and to their own bodies. You are intentionally killing a person because you refuse to accept the right of the new human person to live.

          7. SLCMLC says:

            Even if you accept the fetus has a right to live, you also have to accept that all humans have a right to control their own body. As you point out, these two rights are suddenly at odds with each other. Which right rules supreme? By outlawing abortion you are violating a woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body. It’s that simple. I realize why you want to do this and can respect it, but just as I admit an abortion violates the fetus’s right to life, you must admit that you are violating a mother’s right to her own body. Something has to give.

  3. Sheesh says:

    More Republican “Catholic” Vote nonsense. This time with no added science! Keep living the fantasy…

    1. Esnofla says:

      Science? So, when did politics ever respect science? What you mean is medicine, correct? And are you saying that all abortions are for medical reasons? I hope not. That’s definitely not the reason for the 1.2 million abortions every year in the United States.

      No law is perfect. But we have seen what an imperfect law can do. IT CAN KILL…AND ALL IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE!!!

  4. Robb says:

    Tom-you claim that early inducement can save the mother’s life. Out of curiosity, are you a doctor? Have you examined this woman? Given that you live in Stuebenville and are NOT a doctor, your medical recommendations seem a tad out of place.

    Who should should we believe–the woman’s doctors, or someone who is not a doctor?

    So, please tell us about your trip to El Salvador. We’d love to hear about it.

    1. Esnofla says:

      Are you a doctor? Does someone have to be a doctor or can they ask a doctor?

      And if some doctors said yes and others said no, then what?

      The law is in the Constitution. Of course, all laws are imperfect. Even Obamacare may cause deaths. And? Even abortions cause the death of moms. And?

      The problems start when people play with the lives of others. The big problems begin when people start playing God.

    2. Tom Crowe says:

      Robb– If you read the article you might note that doctors recommended this course of action. I was following their recommendation.

  5. Michael says:

    Thank God, (literally, “Thank you, God!”) that the majority of American Catholics would never say that it’s OK to allow a young woman to die in order to save a fetus with no brain. Dream and Wish all you want, but this will never be acceptable to Americans, including American Catholics. Thank God!

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Michael– Happily, you presented a false choice. There is never a time when an abortion is the only option to save the life of the mother. That is a lie peddled by pro-abortionists. In the most extreme cases where there is a better-than-odds chance of maternal death if the pregnancy goes to term, as the mother’s doctor’s alleged in this case, labor can be induced early. This way the danger to the mother is averted, and the child has a legitimate chance at life.

    2. Larry says:

      Michael, thanks for your post. Notice that Tom is now back peddling with his induced labor analogy which was not mentioned in his original post. If the pregnant woman is seriously ill, inducing labor isn’t going to help at all because the woman still has to survive the birth. Let’s hope that this court finding opens the eyes of El Salvadorian citizens and that they stand together to protect the rights of all women.

      1. Tom Crowe says:

        Larry— I’m right here, you could address me. I did not back-peddle or offer an analogy, I offered a moral solution. There’s a difference (but you’re right, I did not mention it in the original post. Mea culpa.). And yes: inducing labor is going to help. It does, with frequency, even when it is followed by a C-section. Cheers.

    3. Esnofla says:

      No Catholic would ever say that it’s okay to allow a young woman to die in order to save a “fetus”.

      Great comment Michael. Your words reveal your ignorance. FETUS = NONE HUMAN, correct? Or FETUS = NOTHING IMPORTANT RIGHT?

      Your comment shows you don’t know what it means to be pro-life; and the big difference between the pro-life movement and the “pro-choice” (really only pro-choice when it comes to babies and not to smoking, owning guns, etc…) movement.

      The difference is the pro-life movement considers both lives to be important, not just one. That’s the real difference between you and those who love life, all life.

      1. Esnofla says:

        Sorry, I meant to say non-human!

      2. Larry says:

        The simple fact is that the life of the pregnant woman is more important than that of her fetus. You may not like that truth but it remains the truth none the less.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Please explain more: how or why is the mother’s life more important?

          1. Larry says:

            The pregnant woman, by having been born, has, at birth, the right to determine when and if she will become a mother. Every woman has that right at birth. The fetus does not have the right to be born simply because it exists. The right to life occurs at birth. By giving the fetus the right to be born, we, in effect, enslave the pregnant woman to become a mother. This concept is completely unethical and the vast majority of human beings understand this through, if nothing else, common sense but more deeply, through listening to their conscience. The laws of man are not meant to uphold the laws of nature but rather to improve upon the laws of nature.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Why do you set the moment that a person acquires rights at birth? What do you think of laws that charge a drunk driver with two counts of homicide if he kills a pregnant woman? Why would you use the word “enslave”? Why do you take such a dim view of motherhood and nature?

        2. SLCMLC says:

          Those laws about an outsider killing a fetus are pretty interesting…I think that the key point Larry is making is that it is the mother’s choice. The drunk driver violated the mother’s choice, hence the extra charge. But of course I see your point Tom…isn’t this inconsistent by pro-choicers to suddenly treat the fetus as a human worthy of protection? And in some ways, yup, it is.

          These are really tough questions…I personally think (and Larry probably agrees) that the mother’s right to her own body outweighs the fetus’s right to life. You can argue with me to you’re blue in the face, but it’s what myself and millions of others believe.

          1. Tom Crowe says:

            The drunk driver merely violated the mother’s choice? Since when do we charge people with homicide for violating someone’s “choice”?

            What if a mother goes into labor at 22 weeks and the fetus is born alive and medical technology keeps the premie alive? Should the mother have the “choice” to off the kid within the next few weeks if she “chooses” that she doesn’t want it? If not, why not? It would be as old as the child in El Salvador that you’re saying should be aborted, so shouldn’t the mother be able to “choose” to kill the kid?

            You believe that this is merely a matter of the mother’s choice, yes. But don’t call your belief rational or based on science, because it’s not. In that way, it is part of the religion you and Larry and those millions you reference have codified for yourselves.

          2. SLCMLC says:

            I referenced in a post above, probably the most important part of the pro-choice argument is that women have the fundamental right to choose what they do with their own bodies. Your premature baby example falls apart because at that point the baby is separate from the woman. In the drunk driving case my point (and this is just such a long topic) was that you actually are correct…there are clearly some inconsistencies society has when it comes to whether a fetus is a life or not. I was just pointing out in that case the fetus has died not because of the mom choosing to do what she wants with her body but because of some other awful circumstance.

            I think this is what you’re missing…the fetus may have a right to life but the mother has a right to her own body. Pregnancy is a very unique case where these two rights intersect and at times might be mutually exclusive (ie: we gotta pick one or the other). You think the fetus’s rights are supreme. Larry, myself, and millions of others feel the woman’s right to her own body is supreme and outweighs a fetus’s right to life.

          3. Tom Crowe says:

            What if the child in the womb is female: Does that young female human have a right to her own body?

          4. SLCMLC says:

            Even if I concede a fetus (female or not) has a right to life (or their own body), it doesn’t change the fact that outlawing abortion infringes on fundamental rights of people. This is all I’m trying to point out…at some point in this, SOMEONE is going to have a very fundamental right violated.

          5. Tom Crowe says:

            Which is more fundamental: the right to life? Or the right to control your own body? Considering one precedes the other (that is, you cannot have the right to control your own body if you have been denied the right to life) I think it’s pretty clear which one is preeminent.

          6. Tom Crowe says:

            SLCMLC— I have not denied anyone any right: nature dictates that when a woman is pregnant what she does with her body will affect the baby in her womb. That’s not political oppression, that’s nature. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God. Rights derive from nature, not government diktat. When a woman is pregnant she still has the right to do with her body as she will, but just as with all rights, one’s acting upon their own rights cannot infringe on another’s rights. In this case, the child in the womb has rights, so the woman’s choices cannot justly infringe on the child’s rights. Seems pretty simple, no?

  6. JackB says:

    Finally, you tip the catholic hand. Referring to San Salvador as a litmus test for how the rest of the world should behave???

    You are not pro-life you are pro-fetus. In truth, you reject any medical evidence that the mother’s life could be in danger. Ignore that she could have other small children at home that need her. Ignore that her doctors have discovered that she has an ectopic pregnancy. Ironically, my neighbor has gotten a new Florida plate. The pro-life license plate shows two children, no mother.

    I knew having been raised catholic I had my suspicions on this issue. This article confirms my belief.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      JackB — Is not the fetus a living human being? Did not a different team of doctors dispute that the mother was in imminent danger of death? Why do you choose one set of doctors over another? Did they not induce labor early to head off any actual further danger to the mother? Is not the remedy for an ectopic pregnancy (removal of the fallopian tube) acceptable morally? And why do you not lament the lack of a father on the mentioned Florida license plate?

      1. Larry says:

        The fetus is human. It becomes a “living human being” at birth. The premise to your logic is therefore illogical making all of your logic non-logic.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          So is a fetus not “living” or not “human being” before birth? No matter which you choose, science disagrees with you. A fertilized ovum is fully human and a completely new, unique, separate human being with its own life. You and I are no more human than a fertilized ovum, we’ve just had more time.

          1. Larry says:

            I’m really sorry that you believe that.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Larry, that’s not a “belief,” that’s biology.

    2. Esnofla says:

      IF she had an ectopic pregnancy, then the Church would allow the surgery necessary to save the mother’s life. And yes, even with the death of the child.

      You don’t know medicine. You don’t know Catholic doctrine. You don’t even know how to validate your suspicions. Why not look it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

      Maybe you don’t know that either.

      1. JackB says:

        Esnofla, I speak from whence I come. Our good friend was raped by another good friend. It was determined to be a tubal pregnancy. Bleeding badly, she came to her close friend my first wife and asked for advice. Carolyn consoled her and after some time said she should go with her conscience. Sue had the abortion… not at Catholic Benedictine Hospital, but at existing Kingston Hospital. Benedictine had an abortion policy that even doctors had difficulty with… NONE! So don’t say they are open to other thoughts. They are NOT!

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          The remedy for a tubal pregnancy is removal of the tube. This is entirely moral and can be done at a Catholic hospital.

          1. jgbech says:

            Tom, I now understand that. At the time of Sue’s pregnancy none of us were given that position. We were driven in fear by Catholic restrictions. Benedictine Hospital was the worst when it came to women’s health issues. Sister Mary Charles was president of Benedictine. One day I asked her why the hospital was so restrictive on women’s reproductive rights? She said “don’t go there”.

        2. Esnofla says:

          I didn’t say JAck that they are open to other thoughts. I said they are open to the truth. Your friend was misled to believe that she could not have the operation at Benedictine Hospital. You’re a fool Jack! Don’t take what I say. Take what the Church says. In these circumstances it is not an abortion because the intention is not to kill the baby but to save the mother.

          You are wrong…typical of an athiest and of someone who does not know the faith.

          There are plenty of documents in the Church that help explain this. All it takes is for you to read.

          http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=95532

          You see JackB…the truth really sets you free!

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