Beatriz is 22.
She is pregnant.
She is fighting for her life.
Beatriz has lupus, an autoimmune disorder that attacks her internal organs and caused severe complications that almost killed her during her first pregnancy. Now she is confined to a hospital bed, away from her infant son, with the danger to her life growing each day the pregnancy continues.
All of Beatriz’s doctors agree that she needs an abortion, that carrying the pregnancy to term will most likely kill her. But Beatriz lives in El Salvador, a country with an absolute ban on abortions, and if her doctors performed the life-saving operation, both she and they could face up to ten years in prison.
Even though the fetus she carries has anencephaly, a birth defect that is incompatible with life, and will almost certainly die within days of being born.
There are no pictures available of Beatriz (Beatriz is not her real name, but a pseudonym). So here is a picture of myself at 22, because I want you to remember what 22 looks like. I want you to remember how impossibly, heartbreakingly young 22 is. And every time I tell you that the Salvadoran government and the Catholic church are deciding whether this 22 year old woman should live or die, I want you to think about this picture and maybe feel like throwing up because what kind of a world do we live in, really?