At age 17, K.L. became pregnant with an anencephalic fetus, which is a severe anomaly causing the fetus to lack parts of the brain and to have no chance of survival after birth. K.L. sought access to legal abortion services under Peruvian law, which permits abortion when the life or health of the woman is in danger. The hospital refused to provide abortion care even though a doctor confirmed that the pregnancy posed a risk to K.L.’s life and health, and a social worker and psychologist confirmed the grave danger to K.L.’s mental health and well-being. Five months later, K.L. gave birth, and her baby only survived for four days, during which K.L. had to breastfeed her. Following the baby’s death, K.L. fell into a state of deep depression. K.L.’s complaint alleged that the State violated article 2 (guarantee to exercise rights), article 3 (nondiscrimination), article 6 (right to life), article 7 (right to be free from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment), article 17 (the right to privacy), article 24 (special protection of the rights of a minor), and article 26 (guarantee of equal protection of the law).

This is the first time an international human rights body held a government accountable for failing to ensure access to a legal abortion service. The decision established that it was not enough to grant a right on paper, but where abortion is legal it is the duty of governments to ensure that women actually have access to it.