El Salvador: A study on legal barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services

The prohibition of abortion in El Salvador is an example of a direct legal barrier to SRH access. However many of the barriers are indirect, resulting from:

  • conflicting interpretations and perceptions of the law relating to age of consent, parental consent and provision of services
  • prevailing cultural norms, stigma, shame, and taboo around youth sexuality 
  • lack of confidence in confidentiality
  • myths about contraception and lack of accurate education about sexuality
  • lack of positive legal protection of young people’s rights and LGBT rights
  • discretionary and therefore uneven implementation of those protective and facilitative laws that do exist
  • the culture of machismo, gender discrimination and the prevalence of gender-based and sexual violence


  • Implications for law and policy on a broad range of factors impacting access