• I could be a felon…

     

    … if I lived in El Salvador.

    Back in the ’80s, newly-wed me (along with my DH), wanted a child. What we didn’t know was it was going to be difficult. If I could get pregnant, I didn’t stay pregnant very long. Miscarriages are heart breaking, to say the least. But the situation could have been worse. I could have lived in El Salvador.

    Guadalupe, an 18 year old with a fifth grade education, collapsed at work, suffering complications with her pregnancy. She miscarried. That miscarriage landed her in prison for homicide.

    And it’s not just Guadalupe:

    If Guadalupe’s story sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Not only does El Salvador have one of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the world, but authorities there apply the tyrannical law with an aggressiveness that borders on obsessive. Dozens of Salvadoran women — mostly young, and all poor — are behind bars for homicide

    Guadalupe has been in prison for eight… count ’em… EIGHT years. However, the El Salvador Congress voted on a resolution to pardon her.

    It didn’t pass, failing by one vote. This means she’s still slated to serve her complete 30 year sentence.

    El Salvador is perhaps the most punitive country in the world when it comes enforcing its abortion ban. But it’s not alone in its backwardness. Neighboring Nicaragua and Honduras have also outlawed all forms of abortion, including life-saving medical procedures to save a woman’s life.

    Here’s more info on this terrible situation:

    *Update!* From NPR.

    On Wednesday, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved a recommendation by the country’s high court that Vasquez be exonerated. That’s a remarkable turn of events in a country with one of the strongest anti-abortion laws in the world. Even when the health of the mother is at risk, abortion is illegal.

    That said, there are still more women in El Salvador prisons for miscarriage. The situation is quite dire.

    “This is the first window of hope that some of the other women will be released,” Avila says. “It’s a huge victory for all the women and girls who suffer as a result of this law.” At least 16 other women with cases similar to Vasquez’s are currently serving 30-to-40 year sentences in Salvadoran jails, Avila says. Vasquez herself had been sentenced to 30 years after being found guilty of killing her unborn baby.

    Category: In the News

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    Article by: Beth Erickson

    I'm Beth Ann Erickson, a freelance writer, publisher, and skeptic. I live in Central Minnesota with my husband, son, and two rescue pups. Life is flippin' good. :)

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