The Dark State Of Abortion Rights In El Salvador, And First Signs Of Light

Although the last Salvadorian woman imprisoned on charges linked to abortion was released in December, 11 similar cases are currently pending in the country. Human rights activists acknowledge the progress made, and the work that remains to be done to overturn strict anti-abortion laws.

Mariana Escobar Bernoske
March 09, 2024

BOGOTÁ — In December 2023, Lilian was the last Salvadoran woman to regain her freedom after spending seven years in prison for an obstetric emergency. In 2015, the courts found her guilty of "murdering" her unborn baby by planning an abortion, when in fact, a tear in her uterus had caused the death. Medics had to give her three blood transfusions to stabilize her.

El Salvador is one of Latin America's most restrictive states in terms of women's sexual and reproductive rights. Abortion is banned as the state considers persons to exist from the moment of conception, contrary to the advice of international human rights groups. Under this strict ban, women who have had pregnancy complications, miscarriages or prenatal deaths to be charged with premeditating abortion.


El Salvador, where a miscarriage can land you in jail

María Isabel Sánchez
Feb 16, 2024

Lilian was 20 when her newborn baby died of medical complications at a hospital in El Salvador, where abortion is a crime and even the suspicion of one can land a woman in jail.

Lilian was arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison for "aggravated homicide" after her infant daughter passed away at a public hospital in Santa Ana in the country's west in November 2015.


Welcome to El Salvador where a miscarriage sends you to jail

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
By Moraa Obiria, The Nation

What you need to know:
The country in Central America has laws tormenting women and girls with the harshest abortion laws under the sun.
Should a woman abort, regardless of circumstances, the law sends them to jail for between two to eight years.
A 19-year-old woman who miscarried after a rape ordeal was charged with aggravated homicide-intentional and premeditated killing of another person - and jailed for 30 years.


El Salvador woman freed after abortion conviction

17th January 2024
By Leonardo Rocha

A Salvadoran woman has been freed from prison more than seven years after she was convicted for having an abortion.

The 28-year-old, identified only as Lilian, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2015.

She gave birth to a girl in a public hospital in 2015, but the baby suffered health complications and died there three days later.

El Salvador – These women say their babies were stillborn. Courts convicted them of homicide in a country with harsh abortion laws

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Sun October 8, 2023

A sign greets visitors arriving at a sun-filled two-story house in El Salvador’s capital.

“You must enter smiling,” it says. “Before you come in, you will find an invisible bag where you can leave your sorrows. When you leave, you can decide whether to take them with you.”

Teodora Vásquez knows the women seeking shelter, support or a fresh start here often have decades of sorrows weighing on them. And she’s propped up this sign beside a green plastic turtle near the front door as a first step toward the healing she hopes they’ll start to find within these walls.


Demonstrators across Latin America demand abortion rights

September 28, 2023

Americas Desk, Sep 28 (EFE).- The Day for Decriminalization and Legalization of Abortion drew demonstrations all over Latin America on Thursday to address a lack of protection in countries such as El Salvador, fear of losing rights in Argentina, intense political debates in Brazil and progress in Mexico.

In El Salvador, activists from the Feminist Assembly denounced the total criminalization of abortion as the “greatest expression of violence” against women, who can be accused of aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison, even in cases of miscarriage.

Continued :

El Salvador – When Abortion Bans Are Too Popular to Overturn

A court may soon rule against El Salvador’s anti-abortion law. But will that make a difference?

APRIL 24, 2023
By Anna-Catherine Brigida

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador—Alba Lorena Santos had just returned home from running errands when her headache began. She saw blood running down her legs. She was five months pregnant.

Santos told her daughter to call their neighbor, a relative by marriage, for help. She fainted shortly after. When she woke up, she remembers the neighbor telling her the baby—a boy—had died.

The next day the neighbor returned and said the police were there to ask some questions. Still sick and feverish, Santos said she was put into a police car and asked: “Why did you kill him? Not even dogs do that.”


Historic moment’ as El Salvador abortion case fuels hopes for expanded access across Latin America

Human rights court hears seriously ill woman denied procedure as advocates call for change in region with world’s most restrictive abortion laws

Julia Zulver in San Salvador
Fri 24 Mar 2023

Human rights activists in Latin America hope that a historic court hearing over the case of a Salvadoran woman who was denied an abortion despite her high-risk pregnancy could open the way for El Salvador to decriminalize abortions – and set an important precedent across the region.

The inter-American court of human rights (IACHR) this week considered the historic case of the woman, known as Beatriz, who was prohibited from having an abortion in 2013, even though she was seriously ill and the foetus she was carrying would not have survived outside the uterus.


Beatriz vs El Salvador: The landmark case that could change the most restrictive abortion laws in the Americas

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is investigating how a 21-year-old, who was diagnosed with lupus and carrying a fetus that would not survive outside the womb, was not allowed to terminate the pregnancy

Noor Mahtani, San Salvador
MAR 23, 2023

“When my daughter was told she was pregnant and had lupus, the doctors said she could not continue with her pregnancy, because both of their lives were in danger. They said that there was only one way she could be saved, but that they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t allow an abortion.” That’s how the mother of Beatriz, a young woman who lost her life after being denied an abortion, began her testimony in the landmark case: Beatriz vs El Salvador.

For the first time, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) is investigating the total ban on abortion in El Salvador, where it is a crime under any circumstances, and punishable by up to 50 years in prison. A favorable ruling for the family of Beatriz (whose real name remains under seal) could ease the most restrictive anti-abortion law on the continent and set a precedent for the region.


El Salvador – Inter-American court hears first abortion rights case

23 MAR 2023

SAN JOSé - Women gathered outside the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in Costa Rica Wednesday, calling for "justice" as lawyers presented the tribunal's first-ever abortion rights case.

A woman identified only as "Beatriz" is symbolically squaring off against the Central American country of El Salvador which enforces an absolute ban on the procedure.