Women serving decades-long prison terms for abortion in El Salvador hope change is coming

Women serving decades-long prison terms for abortion in El Salvador hope change is coming

By Anna-Catherine Brigida
September 27, 2018

SAN SALVADOR — Alba Lorena Rodríguez was five months pregnant when she started to feel sharp pains in her stomach while at home in December 2009. She fainted. When she awoke, she says, she realized she had lost her baby.

Rodríguez, now 39, says she had a miscarriage. But the state accused her of killing the fetus, and she was convicted of aggravated homicide in a suspected abortion case. She denies having an abortion and says she mourned her miscarriage.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/women-serving-decades-long-prison-terms-for-abortion-in-el-salvador-hope-change-is-coming/2018/09/26/0048119e-a62c-11e8-ad6f-080770dcddc2_story.html?utm_term=.24ab690d1e6b&wpisrc=nl_todayworld&wpmm=1

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Abortion ban in El Salvador has women fearful of miscarriage

Abortion ban in El Salvador has women fearful of miscarriage

Published October 14, 2017

In El Salvador, the abortion law is so strict just having a miscarriage can land a woman in jail.

The Central American country has some of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the world. Since 1998 any pregnant woman who loses her unborn child can be accused of homicide.

Abortion is banned under any circumstance in the country and women are petrified of having a problematic pregnancy.

Continued at source: https://america.cgtn.com/2017/10/14/abortion-ban-in-el-salvador-has-women-fearful-of-miscarriage

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

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

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

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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El Salvador: the debate on abortion law reform is officially open

El Salvador: the debate on abortion law reform is officially open
Mar 28, 2017, by Safe Abortion

This year is the first time that this Central American country has openly debated abortion, forcing even conservative media organisations to cover the issue in editorials and primetime news programmes since abortion was made completely illegal almost 20 years ago.

“This is an historic moment. There’s been a qualitative shift – it’s not just women’s groups speaking out. Abortion has become a priority topic for a range of groups. It… feels like change. Politicians must make amends for the damage done to thousands of women … there is no going back,” said Sara García, a campaigner with the Agrupación Ciudadana por la Depenalización de Aborto.

In February 2017, CEDAW published its recommendations to the El Salvador government that it should decriminalise abortion at least in certain circumstances, and should expedite the adoption of the draft law tabled by the FMLN on four grounds to that effect. During CEDAW’s deliberations, the Agrupación, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP submitted an expert report detailing how the extreme hostility exercised under the existing law put the lives and health of Salvadoran women at grave risk.

In March, the Foundation for the Study of the Implementation of the Law (FESPAD), together with the Association of Women Lawyers (AMA), created a Forum for dialogue between Salvadoran and international jurists on the subject of decriminalisation of abortion, which called on the Members of the El Salvador Parliament to legislate for the health and lives of women, girls and adolescents by approving the proposals tabled earlier this year to decriminalise abortion on four grounds.

The Forum, entitled Constitutional Guarantees, addressed the collision of rights between pregnant women and the developing child they are carrying, and the gulf between the country’s national legislation and international conventions on reproductive rights that currently exists.

“The termination of pregnancy should be permitted in cases in which the pregnancy threatens the life of the pregnant woman, or when the fetus is unviable due to fetal anomalies,” said Ricardo Iglesias, Salvadoran constitutional expert. He held that while some rights from the moment of conception are recognised, these rights are not absolute, and they do not take precedence over other rights, including those of the pregnant woman.

On 20 March, the Committee on Legislation and Constitutional Issues of the Legislative Assembly held a consultation on the two pending bills to reform Article 133 of the Penal Code in relation to abortion, the one a bill to increase the criminal penalties for abortion, tabled by Deputy Ricardo Velázquez Parker of the ARENA party, the other a bill to decriminalise abortion on four grounds, tabled by Lorena Peña of the FMLN.

The FMLN bill would allow abortion in cases of risk to the life or health of the pregnant woman, fetal anomaly incompatible with life, pregnancies resulting from rape or trafficking, and for girls and adolescents who would have to face motherhood imposed by sexual abuse.

“In regard to these two initiatives, we believe in and we support the amendment tabled by Lorena Peña, as it is a step forward on the issue and would provide pregnant women with the right to have an abortion on these four grounds,” said Abraham Abrego, Director of FESPAD. Although he acknowledged that these grounds are still limited, it is an improvement on the current situation and would give the necessary legal security to both women and abortion providers in high-risk cases.

The Agrupación also reported on 21 March 2017 that María Teresa Rivera, 34, the most recent women among Las 17 to be released from prison in 2016, after serving four and a half years of a 40-year sentence on charges of aggravated homicide, was granted asylum by the government of Sweden for herself and her 11-year-old son.

Then, on 24 March, they reported that two representatives of the US Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Norma J Torres, delivered a letter signed by 21 members of Congress, including the senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Eliot Engel, to the President of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, and the President of the Salvadoran Congress, Guillermo Gallegos Navarrete. The letter asked them also to support the efforts to decriminalise abortion on four grounds. In the letter, these members of the US Congress expressed their opposition to the total ban on abortion in El Salvador and called on President Sánchez Cerén to work with civil society and the Salvadoran Congress to advance the FMLN amendments. The letter also emphasises that while the decriminalization of abortion on the four grounds is not sufficient to guarantee access to all reproductive health services for Salvadoran women, it does represent a significant improvement and brings El Salvador closer to complying with international human rights standards.

SOURCES: Agrupación Ciudadana, 24 de marzo de 2017; The Guardian, 23 March 2017 ; Agrupación Ciudadana, 22 de marzo de 2017 ; Agrupación Ciudadana, 20 de marzo de 2017; Agrupación Ciudadana, 6 de marzo de 2017 ; Al-Jazeera, 28 October 2016

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/el-salvador-the-debate-on-abortion-law-reform-is-officially-open/

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Support building for landmark move to overturn El Salvador’s anti-abortion law

Support building for landmark move to overturn El Salvador's anti-abortion law

Parliamentary bill proposing to loosen draconian restrictions on abortion finds favour after religious groups, doctors and others voice public support

Nina Lakhani in Mexico City

Thursday 23 March 2017

El Salvador’s controversial law banning abortion in all circumstances, which has provoked ruthless miscarriages of justice, could be overturned in what has been described as a historic move.

Momentum is building around a parliamentary bill proposing to allow abortion in cases of rape or human trafficking; when the foetus in unviable; or to protect the pregnant woman’s health or life.

Prominent church groups, doctors, lawyers and ethicists have generated a groundswell of public support after speaking out in favour of loosening restrictions in a series of public hearings and debates.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/23/el-salvador-anti-abortion-law-overturn-support-building-landmark-move

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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.

[continued at link]

Source: Conscience

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Feminist Movements Challenge El Salvador’s Total Abortion Ban

By Samantha Pineda
December 10, 2016, Z Communications

A version of this article was originally posted by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)

On November 25th, over 500 hundred people marched through the streets of San Salvador to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and to demand an end to all violence against women. Women-only drum crews pounded out a festive rhythm as participants from social movement organizations convened by the country’s feminist movement, including unions and labor groups, the LGBTQ community, healthcare workers, agricultural cooperatives, and environmentalists, all took to the streets.

A principal demand of the marchers was a call for El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly to ease the country’s total ban on abortion. While the feminist struggle for full reproductive rights is nothing new in El Salvador, organizing efforts over the past few years have gained momentum, found new openings, and are pushing forward the fight for women’s health, safety, and bodily autonomy.

[continued at link]
Source: Z Communications

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