Mothers caught up in El Salvador’s abortion ban put focus on families

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Mothers caught up in El Salvador's abortion ban put focus on families

The Latin American country has one of the world's strictest laws against abortion, and dozens of women say they were wrongly jailed after suffering miscarriages. As El Salvador debates loosening the ban, they're trying to change the conversation.

Catarina Fernandes Martins, Correspondent
August 3, 2017

San Salvador—Mirna Ramírez was arrested for attempting to murder her daughter on the day she was born.

Ms. Ramírez was seven months pregnant when she suddenly went into labor at home, where she delivered her daughter. Neighbors rushed to help and arrived right after the birth. Afterward, though, saying they suspected she had been trying to abort the baby, they reported her to authorities. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Continued at source: Christian Science Monitor: https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2017/0803/Mothers-caught-up-in-El-Salvador-s-abortion-ban-put-focus-on-families

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El Salvador: What It’s Like To Be The World’s First Abortion Refugee

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What It's Like To Be The World's First Abortion Refugee

In 2011, María Teresa Rivera was sentenced to 40 years in prison for 'aggravated homicide' following a miscarriage in El Salvador. Five years later, free and living in Sweden, she finally speaks out about the horrific ordeals women across her home country are facing when it comes to abortion, homicide and the law.

By Katie O'Malley
Aug 1, 2017

The pain, both physical and psychological, of going through a miscarriage, is an experience no-one should have to endure.

However, little did 33-year-old María Teresa Rivera know that the death of her embryo would also be compounded by the loss of her freedom.

Continued at source: Elle: http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/culture/longform/a37441/first-abortion-refugee-maria-teresa-rivera-el-salvador/

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US anti-abortion group quietly fights bid to end El Salvador’s draconian ban

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US anti-abortion group quietly fights bid to end El Salvador's draconian ban

- Human Life International has been directing funds to El Salvador since 2000
-Thousands of women have been denied abortions even in cases of rape

Molly Redden and Nina Lakhani

Thursday 27 July 2017

El Salvador’s absolute ban on abortion – long considered one of the world’s most ruthless – is facing its greatest challenge in years. Buoyed by shifting public attitudes, reproductive rights activists are making headway on a bill to loosen the law for victims of rape and human trafficking, women carrying nonviable pregnancies, and women who risk death or illness.

But support for keeping the ban is formidable – and may have an outside source of help: a US-based anti-abortion group that has quietly funneled funds to El Salvador’s main advocates for the ban.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/el-salvador-abortion-ban-human-life-international

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A U.S. Nonprofit Is Funding the Fight to Imprison Women for Abortions in El Salvador

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A U.S. Nonprofit Is Funding the Fight to Imprison Women for Abortions in El Salvador

By Christina Cauterucci
July 27, 2017

A U.S. anti-abortion nonprofit is funding the fight against legal abortion in El Salvador, funneling between tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization that supports the Central American country’s punishing laws. Reproductive-rights activists are currently rallying behind a bill that would allow for abortions in cases of rape, nonviable fetuses, and life-threatening health complications. Since 1998, abortions have been prohibited by law under all circumstances in the country—by most accounts, the world’s strictest abortion ban.

Continued at source: Slate: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/07/27/u_s_nonprofit_funds_fight_to_imprison_women_for_abortions_in_el_salvador.html

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El Salvador: Women criminalized for abortions

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Women criminalized for abortions
Latinamerica Press
7/26/2017

El Salvador is one of the seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where abortion is strictly prohibited.

Evelyn Hernández was 18 years old when she was raped by a gang member in April 2016, and leaving her pregnant. She was 28 weeks pregnant when she started feeling stomach pains and it was in the latrine of her house where she gave birth to a baby who died. She lost consciousness as she lay bleeding profusely; her mother rushed her to the hospital, where she was accused of having induced an abortion, and was detained.

Continued at source: Latin American Press: http://lapress.org/articles.asp?art=7442

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El Salvador lawyers fight to free raped teenager jailed for abortion

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El Salvador lawyers fight to free raped teenager jailed for abortion

Anastasia Moloney
July 14, 2017

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lawyers in El Salvador representing a teenager who they say suffered a stillbirth but was wrongly imprisoned for murdering her child say they will appeal the decision this month in a case that puts the spotlight on the country's strict abortion ban.

Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez, 19, was handed a 30-year prison sentence earlier this month for aggravated murder by a female judge who ruled the teenager had induced an abortion, which is a crime in the Central American nation.

Continued at source: Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-el-salvador-women-abortion-idUSKBN19Z1VA

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El Salvador Activists: ‘We’re Going To Fight’ For Hernandez

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El Salvador Activists: 'We're Going To Fight' For Hernandez

Published 13 July 2017

Abortion is illegal in the country under any circumstances, even in cases of rape.

Activists in El Salvador say they won’t stop fighting for Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, a teenage rape victim who has been sentenced to 30 years for murder after she reportedly had a stillbirth.

"That is an injustice and we're going to fight. We're going to appeal the case and also we are going to fight until the end," Sara Garcia, member of the Colectiva Feminista and Citizens Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview.

Continued at source: Telesur TV: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/El-Salvador-Activists-Were-Going-To-Fight-For-Hernandez-20170713-0022.html

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El Salvador: The people fighting the world’s harshest abortion law

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The people fighting the world's harshest abortion law

By Rossalyn Warren, for CNN
Mon July 10, 2017

El Salvador's ban on abortion is one of the toughest in the world, but for the first time in 20 years, there are signs the law could be weakened. These are some of the men and women spearheading the country's movement for women's rights.

San Salvador, El Salvador (CNN) -- María Teresa Rivera was 28 when her mother-in-law found her bleeding heavily on the bathroom floor. She rushed Rivera to the hospital, desperate to save her life, but when they arrived, medics took one look at the young woman and called the police.

Continued at source: CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/10/americas/el-salvador-abortion-law/index.html

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MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE: Young Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years for miscarriage

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MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE: Young Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years for miscarriage

July 7, 2017

On 27 June we reported in the Campaign newsletter that a young girl, Evelyn Beatriz, at the age of 18, was the victim of rape in her community and became pregnant without realising it. She miscarried the pregnancy, without even having realised she was pregnant. When she went to the hospital for care, it was treated as suspicious and she was taken away to prison and charged. She was so frightened by everything that happened to her that she did not report the rape to anyone.

The case was heard yesterday, on 5 July. Her defence called for the case to be dismissed because she was innocent of any wrongdoing and there was no evidence that she had killed the baby. However, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “aggravated homicide” by the Tribunal de Sentencia de Cojutepeque.

Her defence team, Bertha María Deleón and Dennis Muñoz, expressed their disagreement with the ruling. They described it as “lacking technical arguments and based on prejudice”. They said “it was determined without taking into account that two expert witnesses, one in charge of the autopsy and the other in charge of the pathology study, pointed out that they had found the presence of meconium in the bronchia of the baby and this could have caused its death”. They also mentioned an irregularity that existed in the process, to do with contamination of the scene – that the police had washed the baby before it was examined by the Medecina Legal (Legal Medicine).

They said they will appeal the ruling and take it up to the Supreme Court of El Salvador if necessary.

This is only one of many other cases of women in El Salvador, mostly young and very poor, who have been sent to prison on such charges with little or no evidence. All over Latin America, women’s movement groups are condemning the courts whose judgements in El Salvador create an injustice through the lifelong sentences they are imposing on innocent young women like Evelyn Beatriz without just cause.

This court judgement is a gross violation of justice and of the human rights of all women who have miscarriages and stillbirths, for which they should never be held responsible in any form, and particularly not criminally responsible. We call on the government of El Salvador to pass legislation that will prevent women being sent to prison in this manner. We also call on them to decriminalize abortion, because it is the criminal law on abortion that the police and judges are confusing here and as a result are criminalizing any delivery of a pregnancy that does not result in a live birth. Lastly, we urge the human rights system in Latin America to offer to the government of El Salvador to provide the police and judges with training in these medical issues if they are going to continue to be forced to hear cases in which they have no medical expertise or background. This trial, like others before it, shows that the realities of women’s reproductive health matters, whether miscarriages, stillbirths or induced abortions, do not belong in a criminal court.

We are ready to organise international solidarity at the request of the movement in El Salvador.

SOURCES: Reportaje en español: http://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/nacional/370385/joven-condenada-a-30-anos-por-homicidio/, por Stanley Luna, 5 July 2017

For an in-depth analysis of all the cases in El Salvador like this one, see: Pregnancy and the 40-Year prison sentence: How “abortion Is murder” became institutionalized in the Salvadoran judicial system, by Jocelyn Viterna and José Santos Guardado Bautista, Health and Human Rights, June 2017, at: https://cdn2.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2017/06/Viterna.pdf

For responses on Twitter from the women’s groups in El Salvador who have supported Evelyn Beatriz and all the women in prison like her, see: https://twitter.com/Unaflorporlas17/status/882723644660756480 and https://twitter.com/AbortoPORlaVIDA

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/miscarriage-of-justice-young-salvadoran-woman-sentenced-to-30-years-for-miscarriage/

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El Salvador jails raped teenager for 30 years under murder laws after she said she suffered miscarriage

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El Salvador jails raped teenager for 30 years under murder laws after she said she suffered miscarriage

Lawyers for the 19-year-old said she did not know she was pregnant

Andrew Buncombe, New York
Friday 7 July 2017

A teenager has been jailed for 30 years after suffering what her lawyers said was a miscarriage, after she was raped a year ago.

A court in El Salvador, a country that has perhaps the world’s most strict laws on reproductive rights, found that Evelyn Beatriz Hernández Cruz, 19, had killed her baby by throwing it into a latrine pit after she gave birth. It convicted her of aggravated homicide.

Continued at source: The Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world-0/el-salvador-abortion-case-raped-woman-jailed-miscarriage-evelyn-beatriz-hern-ndez-cruz-prison-a7827891.html

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