WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) announced she introduced a resolution that condemns abortion bans anywhere in the world, and highlights the case of Beatriz, a young woman living in rural El Salvador who fought for her life against the state to allow her to terminate a pregnancy that put her life at risk. Beatriz’ case exposes the severe consequences of the absolute criminalization of abortion in El Salvador where women can be imprisoned for having a miscarriage. In the 117th Congress, Congresswoman Williams introduced the most significant piece of legislation condemning the criminalization of abortion and pregnancy outcomes.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) said:
“I will always stand with marginalized communities, no matter where they live. As a Georgia State Senator, I traveled to El Salvador where I met women imprisoned for having miscarriages and experiencing other obstetric emergencies. Women in El Salvador face horrific, heartbreaking challenges to simply exist. Women in countries across the world–including our own–continue to fight for Reproductive Freedom. It is imperative that the United States defend every woman and protect access to abortion everywhere.”
The Resolution reads in part:
“Whereas, in March 2013, Beatriz, a young woman living in poverty with lupus, was told she was 11 weeks pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy; Whereas Beatriz’s pregnancy was found to be unviable given the diagnosis of anencephaly; Whereas medical staff agreed that Beatriz’s pregnancy had to be terminated due to Beatriz’s deteriorating health and life endangerment; Whereas the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice denied Beatriz’s petition to provide her life-saving abortion care and necessitated the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to intervene and grant temporary precautionary measures in Beatriz’s favor on April 29, 2013, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a similar order on May 29, 2013; Whereas, on June 3, 2013, Beatriz underwent a cesarean section, and the anencephalic fetus died 5 hours later; Whereas Beatriz was denied access to a legal, early, and timely abortion in a case of an anencephalic pregnancy, which not only damaged her health, personal integrity, and life, but also violated the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and her right to live a life free from violence and discrimination as is stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights…
“Congress condemns the absolute criminalization of abortion in El Salvador and anywhere in the world; affirms that all people deserve access to high-quality health care without fear of reprisal or punishment; calls upon the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to recognize that total criminalization of abortion violates the rights to life, health (including mental health), freedom from torture, and information; and urges States that still have a total ban on abortion to decriminalize abortion and protect and guarantee human rights.”
Click here for the text of the resolution.
Click here for a Spanish-language version of the resolution.
The resolution is endorsed by numerous organizations including:
Abortion Access Front, Abortion Care Network, Advocates for Youth, American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Amnesty International USA, ASISTA Immigration Assistance, CariMan, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Council for Global Equality, El Pueblo, Feminist Majority, Foundation Feminist Women’s Health Center, FL Legislative Coordinator Vanessa Montiel, Florida Access Network, Fòs Feminista, Friends of the Earth US, Global Justice Center, Guttmacher Institute, Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), Ibis Reproductive Health, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law (IANGEL), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Last Mile4D, Lift Louisiana, MAMA – Mobilizing Activists around Medical Abortion, Medical Students for Choice, MenEngage Global Alliance, MPact Global Action, MSI Reproductive Choices, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Abortion Federation, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Birth Equity Collaborative, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Health Law Program, National Institute for Reproductive Health, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, North American Men Engage Network (NAMEN), Obstetricians for Reproductive Justice, PAI Pathfinder International, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Connection Action Fund, Population Institute Positive Women’s Network-USA, Pregnancy Justice, Pro-Choice North Carolina, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, SlutwalkNOLA, The Global Justice Institute, UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, We Testify, White Ribbon Alliance, Women Deliver, and Women’s Refugee Commission.
Katherine (Kat) Olivera, Fòs Feminista’s Associate Director of U.S. Global Advocacy said:
“Beatriz’s case is harrowing for feminists everywhere. Every person has the right to make decisions about their own body and health, free from coercion or interference. The denial of these rights is a violation of fundamental human rights, plain and simple. We urge the international community to join us in supporting the #JusticiaParaBeatriz movement and advocating for the rights of people in El Salvador seeking abortion care. As we in Washington, DC, raise our green bandanas in solidarity and lift our voices to fight against cruelty and anti-abortion extremism, we lend the strength of the global feminist movement to those in need and we stand in community with all bravely defending our freedoms.”
Morena Herrera, President of la Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto, the leading feminist civil society organization in El Salvador championing the decriminalization of abortion said:
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Congress supporting initiatives to achieve reproductive justice in Latin American and Caribbean countries and the United States, where some political leaders have curtailed women’s rights. Let Beatriz’s calling, “I don’t want another woman to experience what I endured,” guide the transformations we seek to achieve. Thank you, Congresswoman Nikema Williams, from Georgia, for this resolution.”
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement. Congresswoman Williams is also committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.