Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student


A mother's personhood

In El Salvador, there is an abortion ban that is so strict, women who suffer miscarriages are held under suspicion of murder.

The Citizens’ Coalition for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador is currently fighting for the women who, under this law, have been imprisoned for suffering miscarriages, unsuccessful emergency C-sections, and still births.

The strict rule has existed since 1998, when all exceptions to the abortion law in El Salvador were removed, outlawing abortion of all kind.

This was strengthened the next year with a constitutional amendment that claimed the recognition of life is at the moment of conception. This law came under international fire last year when the El Salvador’s supreme court denied a woman named Beatriz, who suffers from lupus.

Carrying the child eventually became so detrimental to her own health that at 27 weeks, she was allowed to have an emergency C-section during which the baby died. An amendment in which its sole purpose is to supposedly protect life ended up being nothing but traumatic and life threatening to Beatriz. In cases like Beatriz’s, women are treated like the criminals.

Abortion is a toughly debated topic everywhere, and both sides have their reasons. However, this amendment is not just about abortion.

It is about prioritizing the idea of a potential person versus the life of an actual woman. It is about criminalizing women who are suffering a great loss for something that is, in some cases, unavoidable.

Women and children are suffering from these laws, and in cases of extreme health issues for the mother and the baby, it’s unclear who exactly is benefiting.

Despite great support from the Catholic Church, many people believe that the law is unfair and should be changed. Unfortunately, that would still not be the end of it.

The state of Colorado is currently deciding on an amendment to its state constitution, which carries the same principles. Amendment 67, or the Brady Project, would change the definition of “person” and “child” to include unborn fetuses in the criminal and wrongful death codes. This means that any perceived violence against fetuses — for instance, an abortion, a miscarriage and alcohol consumption would be punishable as violence against a person.

Colorado has tried three times to pass a personhood amendment without success. This latest attempt is veiled under a more sympathetic motive but still contains the same consequence.

If this amendment passes in Colorado, the standard of care for potential mothers goes the way of El Salvador — denial of life-saving procedures and the suspicion of women who nature has decided cannot carry to term.

There are a thousand things that can go wrong in a pregnancy, and every one that goes right is a miracle. Women cannot be criminalized for not getting lucky, and they cannot be treated like incubators.

The life of the mother matters as well, and the decision should be hers to face, without the possibility of criminal charges.

Get stories like this in your inbox