The unspeakable cruelty of El Salvador’s abortion laws

The unspeakable cruelty of El Salvador's abortion laws
The Canadian Press
Lisa Kowalchuk, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Guelph

April 12, 2018

Around the world today we are seeing two opposite tendencies in abortion law reform.

In the Americas, the governments of Bolivia, Chile and Mexico City recently lifted total bans on abortion. Other jurisdictions such as Ohio, several states in Mexico and Poland have passed or attempted tighter restrictions.


Mexico baby death trial reveals growing persecution of women who miscarry

Mexico baby death trial reveals growing persecution of women who miscarry

Dafne McPherson was convicted of murder after her baby died during childbirth – part of a growing trend to criminalise women in conservative parts of the country

David Agren
Wednesday 8 November 2017

The day that Dafne McPherson’s life came apart began like any other: she dropped her seven-year-old daughter Lia at school, then started her shift in the children’s clothing section of the Liverpool department store in the central Mexican city of San Juan del Río.

At around 5pm, she felt a sharp abdominal cramp and spoke to the store nurse, who told her nothing was amiss. But shortly afterwards, in the second-floor bathroom, McPherson went into labour. She says she hadn’t even realised that she was pregnant.

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

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:

Uruguay Solidarity Request: Please sign statement calling for release of young woman in prison for miscarriage

Uruguay Solidarity Request

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion, April 7, 2017

Statement: A court has put a young woman in prison for miscarriage

by Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (MYSU), 4 April 2017

A young woman has this week been sentenced to a term in prison for homicide in the city of Rivera in Uruguay. She gave birth in the bathroom of her house unaware that she was even pregnant. She was accused of manslaughter, which the judge, Darwin Rampoldi, used to sentence her for having “aborted” the pregnancy.

This is the second time this year that the Uruguayan justice system has been responsible for a blatant injustice, void of any gender perspective. The circumstances, as narrated in the judgment, are masterfully misogynistic.

Before she was even taken to court, however, the young woman had been judged and condemned by the health professionals who attended her in the Public Hospital. The initial diagnosis was of “abortion” followed by a series of gynaecological examinations that determined that she had given birth. She was then taken to the maternity ward, and only six hours after admission, a doctor thought to ask: “Where is the baby?”.

In the trial, there were testimonies from doctors, neighbours and relatives. In her own words, the young woman told the court that she had felt a strong pain, but had had no idea that she was pregnant. She told her partner that she thought it could be ovarian pain, but that she wasn’t going to go to the doctor because “they will laugh at me”.

This is not the first time that a woman has been criminally prosecuted in Uruguay under these circumstances. Yet no State institution has intervened to prevent and address these unfortunate situations. Instead, the Penal Code is invoked, and women are put on trial and sent to jail without justification.
We call on the Judiciary to ensure that its members receive regular training in human rights issues as well as greater awareness of the use of legal processes so as to ensure gender justice. We also call on the Judiciary to monitor the performance of judges in invoking the criminal law in such cases. We believe an analysis of such judgments would provide an account of the extent of gender bias and prejudice in judicial rulings, and expose the extent to which they reinforce gender stereotypes and biased social values – such as those which assume that a woman who has an unexpected pregnancy and gives birth in very precarious conditions must have murdered a baby.

We also denounce the attitude and intervention of those health professionals who, instead of attending to a woman who found herself in this situation, mistreated, belittled and judged her. Health professionals are neither judges nor police officers; their role is not to condemn but to ensure the highest quality of care for the patient who requires it, regardless of her socioeconomic class and educational level, let alone her “motives”.

We demand the immediate release of this young woman and the effective intervention of all the State institutions that are involved, to ensure her release.


Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion:

Welcome to El Salvador: Forty years’ jail for your miscarriage

2016 Issue 3, Conscience
By Andrew Buncombe
Posted Dec 20, 2016

When Maria Teresa Rivera was jailed in El Salvador for 40 years after suffering a miscarriage, the authorities would not allow her to keep a photograph of her son, Oscar. So she would shut her eyes and call up moments from the past, memories that burned bright and deep, and which allowed her to form an image of the youngster in her mind. Being away from Oscar for the five years she eventually served was the most difficult aspect of her incarceration. “Sometimes I would feel sad and desperate,” she told me, a few days after she was released this past spring. “I would go to the church and pray. It helped a lot.” Ms. Rivera, 33, was a victim of what is probably the most draconian legal situation in the world for repro­ductive rights.

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Source: Conscience