Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition

Congratulations to Alyson Zureick and her colleagues Amber Khan, Angeline Chen and Astrid Reyes at New York University for their new publication in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.  A PDF of the published text is now online.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract to REPROHEALTHLAW subscribers.
Alyson Zureick, Amber Khan, Angeline Chen and Astrid Reyes “Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition.” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143 (Oct. 2018) : 121–126.
Early view PDF online.   Submitted text  at SSRN.

El Salvador’s criminal abortion law—one of the few in the world that prohibits all abortions and that is actively enforced against women—harms women’s health and undermines the ethical duties of Salvadoran physicians and the standing of the medical profession. Under the criminal abortion regime, physicians are incentivized to disclose their patients’ confidential medical information, in violation of their ethical duties, and public health care facilities have become sites of criminal investigation. These investigations target women not only for illegal abortions but also for miscarriages and obstetric emergencies. The ban further prevents physicians from providing medical care that is often necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health. Finally, by criminalizing women’s pregnancy outcomes, the regime undermines the country’s recent public health improvement efforts and compounds the marginalization of women and girls from its most vulnerable communities, in violation of the state’s international human rights obligations.

Keywords: Abortion legislation; Criminalization, El Salvador, International human rights, Medical ethics, Reproductive health, Public hospitals.

Full text PDF is now accessible:   Early view PDF online.

Submitted text  can be downloaded through SSRN.


Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

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