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Did doctors in a country that bans abortion under any circumstances manage to terminate the pregnancy without violating the law?…

On Monday, doctors removed Beatriz’s fetus — which had a severe defect that prevented the brain from developing — through an incision in her abdomen….

Yet the procedure was not an abortion, the health minister said, because the fetus was delivered, placed in an incubator and provided fluids. It lived for five hours.

One Salvadoran anti-abortion group called the outcome a victory, describing the procedure as an induced birth in which the baby died of natural causes. Some abortion-rights advocates welcomed the outcome, too, saying it showed that El Salvador’s ironclad restriction did not have to imperil women with dangerous pregnancies, even when the fetus had little or no chance of surviving.

“It is an abortion,” said Alejandra Cárdenas, legal adviser for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “They are interrupting an unviable pregnancy.”…

Motivation has become a determining factor in distinguishing abortions from early deliveries, some doctors say.

“An abortion is done with the intent of killing the baby,” said José Miguel Fortín Magaña, director of the Institute of Legal Medicine, which evaluates medical issues for the nation’s highest court. “An induction is done with the intent of saving the mother.”

~ Karla Zabludovsky, reporting on the early delivery of a child in a high-risk pregnancy in El Salvador, The New York Times, June 4

[Photo via rawstory.com; sign translated: "Beatriz has a right to live. Respect sexual and reproductive rights."]