Friday, 7 July 2017

19-YR-OLD RAPE VICTIM JAILED 30 YEARS FOR STILLBIRTH UNDER EL SALVADOR’S STRICT ABORTION LAW

A 19-year-old rape survivor has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in El Salvador after she suffered a stillbirth due to complications during her pregnancy. 

Hernandez Cruz was convicted of “aggravated homicide” on Wednesday under what Amnesty International called El Salvador’s “retrograde anti-abortion law”. 

Local rights groups say Hernandez Cruz had been raped months before going into labour, but had not told police out of fear. She also said she did not know she was pregnant when she suffered severe abdominal pain and fainted in her bathroom in April 2016. 

Hospital staff reported her to officials and she was charged after the body of the feotus was found in a toilet. Hernandez Cruz was convicted on grounds that she did not get prenatal care. 

Prosecutors also argued that the baby may have died after birth. El Salvador is one of five countries where abortion is criminalised in all cases. 

Under the country’s law, which was implemented in 1998, women can be charged for murder and other related charges even when a pregnancy is the result of rape, incest or when the life or health of the pregnant woman or girl is at risk. 

A woman can be punished by up to 8 years, and in some cases women have been given sentences of up to 40 years if a judge determines “homicide” was committed. Politics in El Salvador are highly influenced by the Catholic Church. 

“El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families,” Amnesty’s Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas said in a statement on Thursday. 

“It goes against human rights and it has no place in the country or anywhere.” Human Rights Watch has also called the law a risk to “women’s life and health”. 


























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