In a statement on 8 May 2017, Amnesty International said that the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly has a historic opportunity to reject the criminalisation of abortion and protect the health and lives of millions of women throughout the country, in light of a debate due to start this month which could result in the first steps being taken towards partial decriminalization of abortion. It is the first time in almost 20 years that there is a real opportunity to change this law.
A group of experts of the United Nations today encouraged the Congress of El Salvador to “seize an exceptional opportunity to advance the protection of the human rights of women and girls” in the framework of the review of Article 133 of the Penal Code with a view to decriminalizing termination of pregnancy in specific circumstances.
In 2008, a pregnant, haemorrhaging woman staggered into a hospital in El Salvador seeking emergency care.(Vice News, 20 April 2017) The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced it will hear the case of Manuela, a Salvadoran woman wrongfully imprisoned … Continued
This year is the first time that this Central American country has openly debated abortion, forcing even conservative media organisations to cover the issue in editorials and primetime news programmes since abortion was made completely illegal almost 20 years ago. … Continued
A principal demand of the marchers was a call for El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly to ease the country’s total ban on abortion. While the feminist struggle for full reproductive rights is nothing new in El Salvador, organising efforts over the past few years have gained momentum, found new openings, and are pushing forward the fight for women’s health, safety, and bodily autonomy.
In a PETITION that will be sent to Deputy Lorena Peña, President of the Chamber of Deputies, and 25 other senior decision-makers in the government, the Alianza por la Salud y la Vida de las Mujeres supports the four grounds outlined in the law reform proposal and gives a long list of reasons why.
El Salvador’s ruling leftist party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), has presented a bill to the national Congress to allow abortion in cases of rape or trafficking, when the woman’s life is in danger, when the fetus is so deformed that its life is unviable, and in cases of the sexual abuse of a girl who is a minor. Consent of the woman is required in each case, and the consent of the girl and her parents or legal guardian is required in the case of a minor.
El Salvador has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world. Abortion became illegal in 1998 in all cases, even if a woman’s life is at risk. Abortion charges carry a sentence of 2-8 years. Those who assist in an abortion can face 6-12 years in prison. A witch hunt in the country’s hospitals and courts means many women who suffer miscarriages or obstetric complications are held suspect for aborting their pregnancies.
Twenty-one members of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) in El Salvador submitted a motion on 11 July to the parliament for debate on 14 July to reform Article 133 of the Penal Code, increasing the penalty for women who cause or consent to an abortion from up to eight years in prison to a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 50 years. This is equivalent to the current sentence for aggravated murder with extreme cruelty.
In an article about Zika virus in El Salvador, Dr Eduardo Espinosa, Vice-Ministro de Políticas de Salud, is quoted in a recent interview regarding the country’s abortion law saying: “It seems to me that this is a little archaic, and that it is not fair.” He was also said to have called on women’s rights groups to lead a pro-choice debate and put pressure on lawmakers to ease the country’s ban on abortion.