In 2014, “Belén”, a 27-year-old woman from the province of Tucumán went to her local hospital with a serious vaginal haemorrhage. The duty doctor diagnosed a spontaneous miscarriage, but “Belén” was accused of having disposed of the fetus in a hospital washroom. She was tried and sentenced to eight years in jail for aggravated homicide in a trial riddled with irregularities. She spent more than two years in prison until August 2016, when the Tucumán Supreme Court ordered her release after a long-running, nationwide campaign. Seven months later, the Court has now acquitted her due to the absence of evidence against her.
In overturning the lower court’s decision, the provincial Supreme Court highlighted the importance of patient confidentiality, the rights of women who have undergone an abortion and the right of women to be treated with dignity and not subjected to violence.
Her lawyer, Soledad Deza, told El País, that the ruling will set a precedent that will help to prevent other women from being treated as she was: “This ruling provides justice twice over: for Belén and all other women who do not want to be mothers who have a spontaneous or induced abortion. I believe this ruling will encourage women to use the public health system because they now know they will not be arrested when they leave.” She said Belén is also considering whether to bring legal action against the state for the time she has lost, the violation of her rights, the loss of her freedom and for changing the course of her life.
SOURCE: El País, 28 March 2017 (in English) ; Absuelta una joven argentina que estuvo dos años presa por un aborto (en español) ; PHOTO