EL SALVADOR – Salvadoran woman in prison for abortion since 2013 has been released conditionally

A Salvadoran woman serving a 30-year prison term for allegedly aborting the pregnancy she was carrying was released on Monday after the Attorney General’s Office decided not to overturn the conditional release granted her by a court. According to the Agrupacion Ciudadana por la Despenalizacion del Aborto (Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) in October 2012 had an obstetric emergency slipping and falling while she was washing clothes.

The organization said that the young woman “lost a lot of blood and fainted, was taken to a hospital and while still there and in delicate health, she was accused of wanting to terminate her pregnancy, for which she was arrested and charged with aggravated homicide.”

She was imprisoned nine years ago at the age of 20 after being taken to hospital with bleeding in the 8th month of her pregnancy, after a fall at home. In El Salvador, women who suffer complications during their pregnancies leading to miscarriages and stillbirths are regularly suspected of having had an abortion and jailed for homicide.

The Public Ministry reported Friday that it would not appeal the ruling because “there are no elements on which to base the said appeal, since it fulfills all the requirements to provide her with the benefit (of conditional release).”

Her sentence was commuted in January, i.e. reduced to 10 years, according to her attorney Karla Vaquerano. The Second Criminal Court in the city of Cojutepeque on May 31 held a hearing to consider the request for early parole, ultimately ruling in favor of the young woman.

Relatives went to collect her and celebrate her release, although she must abide by a series of restrictions such as being prohibited from leaving the country while she fulfils the remainder of her sentence. So in fact she has not been released fully.

La Prensa Latina reported on 7 June 2021 that: A survey released on Jan. 21, 2021, found that 82.7 percent of the public disapproves of “abortion for therapeutic reasons.” But it might be asked: what was the survey question? And how many of those who “disapproved” have had abortions, as other studies have shown.

SOURCES: La Prensa Latina, by EFE, 7 June 2021 ; BBC News with PHOTO by Marvin Recinos/AFP but with filter to added to obscure the faces, 8 June 2021