My new film documents how more than 50 Salvadoran women serving lengthy prison terms have been set free by feminist activism
21 March 2022
unconscious. When I woke up and saw the police were there, they were
handcuffing me... I didn't even understand... I only know that they just beat
me, treated me very badly, and at the end when I asked what was happening, they
told me I had killed my daughter and would be 50, 60 years in jail for the
crime I had committed.”
With these words, Teodora Vázquez explains the circumstances of her detention,
after giving birth a stillborn child in 2007. She was convicted of ‘aggravated
homicide’, sentenced to 30 years, and released in 2018 after a long legal
In a case at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, European groups supported criminalising women who had obstetric emergencies
Diana Cariboni and Tatev Hovhannisyan
3 December 2021
European right-wing groups backed the El Salvador government over the imprisonment and death of a woman for having a miscarriage. But they lost.
One of the groups was the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), a branch of the ultra-conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), led by Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow.
From Herrera to Herrera: women against the patriarchy in El Salvador
The current climate of anti-abortion zealotry fosters brutal regimes that persecute and torture people such as Manuela, who died while imprisoned for having a miscarriage
DEBORA DINIZ, GISELLE CARINO
12 MAR 2021
The voice that conveyed the information to Morena Herrera, from El Salvador,
was foreign. “There are women who have been imprisoned for abortion,” the voice
said, “and they’ll stay there for 30 years or more.” Herrera could not believe
what she was hearing; under the criminal code, abortion carried a maximum
sentence of eight years. Why such long prison terms? Morena Herrera asked the
speaker, Donna Ferrato, how she knew about these women. Ferrato had just
finished a photo essay for The New York Times on the criminalization of
abortion in El Salvador, and she had heard the story from the imprisoned women
themselves. One of them was Karina Herrera. The coincidence of sharing the same
last name helped Morena embark on a journey to identify these women and take the
fight for their freedom to national and international courts.
Abortion Has Been Illegal in El Salvador for Two Decades. Here’s What Activists Say U.S. Feminists Should Know.
"It’s vulnerable women who are criminalized. It’s exactly the same thing that will happen in the United States.”
Jul 16, 2019
Legislatures around the United States have passed increasingly tight restrictions on abortion in the past few years. As the overturning of Roe v. Wade becomes a more realistic possibility, some activists have looked to those in other countries with abortion bans for guidance.
In El Salvador, where abortion has been banned in all circumstances since 1998, activists drew similarities between the two countries’ situations—and told Rewire.News that those concerned about reproductive rights should look to unite with allies beyond their own borders.
Posted January 29, 2019
by inroads Comms, with Sara García Gross
As 2018 came to a close, the feminist and social movements of El Salvador had a great victory, one which inspired activists across the world. For years, ever since a 1998 penal code harshened laws even more to ban abortion under any circumstance, Salvadoran feminist activist groups have been fighting to end the criminalization and stigmatization of abortion in their country, which is one of 26 countries in the world where abortion is completely prohibited without exceptions. After years of sexual abuse from a family member, Imelda Cortez became pregnant, and then gave birth outside of the hospital. For this, she was accused of attempting an abortion and then jailed. There, she awaited trial under attempted murder charges for almost two years. This is not uncommon, and there are still 25 women in El Salvador who remain incarcerated for having pregnancy complications, appearing to have an abortion, and for circumstances related to reproductive health. But after a generation of strategizing and organizing; collective direct actions appealing to the Attorney General; and leveraging the call to #SalvemosAImelda in a wide reaching international campaign; organizers were able to achieve a hard fought victory for justice in December 2018. Imelda Cortez was free.
EL SALVADOR – Interview with Sara García Gross: « In El Salvador, when a woman falls pregnant, she loses her right to life. »
June 22, 2018
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
El Salvador is ruled by what began as a leftist party and over the years has passed a series of policies in support of women’s rights. But on the subject of abortion there has always been silence. Although they were the first party to introduce an abortion law reform bill after 20 years in power, they then postponed the debate with the excuse of introducing other priority issues, which shows that fundamentalist pressure on them is strong and influential. Among the fundamentalists, there is not only the Catholic Church but also groups related to Opus Dei, who have organised campaigns to discredit and disparage our work on sexual and reproductive rights.
Pope John Paul II visited El Salvador; he was totally anti-abortion. Streets bear his name. Currently, there is a process of canonisation of Bishop Romero, which had already been declared a saint by the people, so it was not even necessary for the church to recognise him. The fundamentalist movement takes advantage of his popularity to promote anti-abortion messages.
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.
Salvadoran Woman, One of ‘Las 17,’ Freed After Spending 15 Years Behind Bars Following a Miscarriage
"I'm so happy to be free and with my family. We need to keep fighting so all the other women can be freed, too," Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquin told Rewire.News on Wednesday.
Mar 14, 2018
Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín, who was convicted of aggravated homicide after a miscarriage in 2003, was freed from prison in El Salvador on Tuesday after her 30-year sentence was commuted to 15 years. Figueroa is one of the “Las 17,” a group of Salvadoran women imprisoned following obstetric emergencies with sentences of up to 40 years.
“I’m so happy to be free and with my family. We need to keep fighting so all the other women can be freed, too,” Figueroa told Rewire.News on Wednesday.
Beatriz, Who Brought El Salvador’s Abortion Ban to the World Stage, Dies Following Motorcycle Accident
Oct 11, 2017
"Beatriz was our friend, a warrior, who never stopped fighting for her life," said the local feminist group Agrupacion Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto, in a statement.
Beatriz Garcia, whose fight against El Salvador’s draconian prohibitions on abortion moved the country—and the world—in 2013, died October 8 from complications after a motorcycle accident a few days prior.
Garcia, who chose to be known only as “Beatriz” during her struggle to interrupt her life-threatening pregnancy in 2013, suffered from the autoimmune disease discoid systemic lupus erythematosus, which was aggravated by lupus nephritis, an incurable disease that affects multiple organs. According to the Salvadoran Institute of Forensic Medicine, the lupus, combined with a case of hospital-acquired pneumonia, ultimately led to her death.
Continued at source: Rewire: https://rewire.news/article/2017/10/11/beatriz-brought-el-salvadors-abortion-ban-world-stage-dies-following-motorcycle-accident/
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/