In El Salvador, a 20-Year-Old Faces Prison Time After Giving Birth to Her Stepfather’s Baby in a Latrine
Imelda Isabel Cortez Palacios is just one of dozens of women in El Salvador who have been imprisoned following birth complications or miscarriages. But her case has taken on greater significance because at the hospital, she informed health professionals that her stepfather had raped her repeatedly between the ages of 12 and 19.
Apr 11, 2018
On April 17, 2017, Imelda Isabel Cortez Palacios, then 19, gave birth to a baby girl in the latrine at her family’s home in the small community of Jiquilisco, La Paz, El Salvador. Cortez says she did not know she was about to give birth; instead, she told her lawyer, in the latrine she “felt something come loose.” She screamed for help before she fainted and started to hemorrhage heavily.
Her mother took her to the local public hospital, where medical personnel determined she had given birth. Because there was no baby or fetus present, they notified police. At the home, the baby was rescued from the latrine without any injuries.