Posted January 29, 2019
by inroads Comms, with Sara García Gross
As 2018 came to a close, the feminist and social movements of El Salvador had a great victory, one which inspired activists across the world. For years, ever since a 1998 penal code harshened laws even more to ban abortion under any circumstance, Salvadoran feminist activist groups have been fighting to end the criminalization and stigmatization of abortion in their country, which is one of 26 countries in the world where abortion is completely prohibited without exceptions. After years of sexual abuse from a family member, Imelda Cortez became pregnant, and then gave birth outside of the hospital. For this, she was accused of attempting an abortion and then jailed. There, she awaited trial under attempted murder charges for almost two years. This is not uncommon, and there are still 25 women in El Salvador who remain incarcerated for having pregnancy complications, appearing to have an abortion, and for circumstances related to reproductive health. But after a generation of strategizing and organizing; collective direct actions appealing to the Attorney General; and leveraging the call to #SalvemosAImelda in a wide reaching international campaign; organizers were able to achieve a hard fought victory for justice in December 2018. Imelda Cortez was free.