Teodora Vásquez was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in 2007, because she suffered a miscarriage. Under El Salvador’s anti-abortion law, Vásquez’s case was prosecuted as a “homicide”.
El Salvador is one of a handful of Latin American countries with total bans on abortion. Vásquez has so far spent 10 years in prison, during which she had filed an appeal against her conviction in 2007.
Unfortunately, her appeal has been rejected and her conviction upheld by the tribunal which presided over her case.
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Vásquez, 37, said she was working in 2007 when she began to experience intense pain, then bleeding. She called for help before fainting. As she came round, police officers surrounded her and accused her of murdering her baby by inducing an abortion of her nearly full-term baby, The Guardian learnt.
The strictly Catholic El Salvador operates “anti-abortion laws that make no exception for rape, incest or the health of the mother.”
Since 1998 when El Salvador prohibited all abortions, even if pregnancy results from rape or incest; or if it poses threat to a woman’s life, the woman must carry the pregnancy to term, Amnesty said.
“It is estimated that between 1998 and 2013, more than 600 women were jailed after being accused of having had an abortion,” says the Centre for Reproductive Rights.
A glimmer of hope that El Salvador could overturn its abortion ban emerged earlier this year with the introduction of a parliamentary bill that proposed allowing abortion in cases of rape or human trafficking, when the foetus is unviable or to protect the pregnant woman’s health or life.
Recently, activists took to the streets to protest the absolute ban.