Ana (2007) – Costa Rica

Woman repeatedly denied termination despite health issues and fatal fetal abnormality; forced to suffer

A 26-year old Costa Rican woman called Ana y Aurora (a pseudonym), found out in Feb. 2007 that her 6-week pregnancy was at risk, and she was diagnosed with a fetal pathology incompatible with life. Despite being plunged into a deep depression, doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy even though it’s legal in Costa Rica to terminate pregnancy when the life or health of the woman is at risk. She became suicidal in the months that followed, and her health deteriorated. In her fifth month of pregnancy, she had to be hospitalized again and was referred to a psychiatrist, who determined that the pregnancy exposed her to a risk of death by suicide, and recommended that health authorities terminate the pregnancy.

Ana repeatedly requested termination of the pregnancy, but her requests were denied and ignored, despite knowledge of her health issues. She was subjected to mistreatment by staff, who even made fun of her situation. Her fetal pregnancy was diagnosed with occipital encephalocele, but the medical staff of the public hospital where she was treated (with the exception of the clinic director, who recommended termination of pregnancy), ignored the danger that the pregnancy posed to her life and health.

In June 2007, Ana’s mother filed an action before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica, invoking the rights to life and health of her daughter, but the court rejected her petition. On June 30, 2007, Ana endured 7 hours of labour for a baby girl that was already dead. To this day, Ana suffers from depression, anxiety attacks, chronic diarrhea, and social inhibition. She also had a tubal ligation in 2013 just to avoid any possibility of a future experience like this.

Read Spanish sources from Center for Reproductive Rights: AN v Costa Rica  and Aurora Fact Sheet