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El Salvador

    January 21, 2015

    El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly must vote today to overturn horrifying injustice and pardon a woman imprisoned for 30 years after having a miscarriage, said Amnesty International today.

    “Guadalupe” was just 18-years-old when she was imprisoned in 2007. She received a 30 year sentence after authorities suspected she could have actively terminated her pregnancy.  Members already voted on 16 January and “Guadalupe” lost her plea by just one vote. They will vote again today.

    “Today El Salvador has the chance to rectify a terrible injustice perpetrated against this young woman. She has already spent seven long years in prison away from her family and her release cannot come a moment too soon,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.

    Abortion is totally banned in El Salvador, even if the pregnancy could kill the woman. Some women, mainly those living in poverty, who have a miscarriage are automatically criminalized.

    January 21, 2015

    Recently, the Salvadoran authorities refused to pardon Guadalupe, a young woman currently serving a 30-year jail sentence after suffering a miscarriage. One of her chief advocates is Morena Herrera. Here, the ex-freedom fighter, staunch feminist and sexual and reproductive rights campaigner tells us why El Salvador’s abortion ban needs to go.

    “I was a guerrilla fighter. I was an activist for social change since I was young,” says Morena Herrera. When the civil war ended in 1992 and the Peace Accords were signed, she knew that the fight was far from over.

    “Those accords left big holes when it came to women’s rights,” she says. “I realized I had to fight another way. Women’s rights are human rights and they have to be a priority.”

    Since 2009, Morena has been fighting “another way” through the Citizen’s Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, a collective she heads today.

    January 15, 2015

    Authorities in El Salvador must end their ruthless campaign against women’s rights and immediately release a woman imprisoned after losing her pregnancy in 2007, Amnesty International said today ahead of a key Parliamentary vote on her case.

    The country’s Parliament is set to vote this Friday on issuing the first pardon in the cases of 17 women imprisoned for pregnancy related issues.

    Guadalupe, who was 18 years old when she was jailed and has a five-year-old son, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering a miscarriage in 2007. She was accused of having an abortion, which is outlawed in any circumstance in El Salvador.

    “Guadalupe’s harrowing story is just one example of how the authorities in El Salvador go to ridiculous lengths to punish women. She should have never been imprisoned in the first place and must not be made to spend another second behind bars,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    October 28, 2014

    El Salvador came under pressure from nine countries at the United Nations last night to amend its repressive and out-dated abortion laws. The effects of these laws amount to institutionalized violence, torture and other forms of ill-treatment against women and girls, said Amnesty International

    A further 12 countries have raised concerns about continued discrimination against women in the country.

    El Salvador was called upon at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to reform laws that bar access to abortion in all circumstances and send women to prison for having miscarriages or clandestine abortions.

    “We have seen first-hand the devastating impact these laws are having on the women and girls of El Salvador, from women dying during clandestine abortions, to others imprisoned for more than 40 years after having suffered a miscarriage. Now representatives from various countries have joined us in saying enough is enough,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    October 14, 2014

    By Shiromi Pinto

    Yoshi Garcia is a Salvadoran activist and self-styled “DJ with a conscience”. Aged 24, her interest in gender equality issues started when she was around 14. Since then, she has joined numerous campaigning organizations, including Agrupaçion (the Citizen’s Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) and Jovenes Voceras y Voceros en los DS y DR (Youth Voices for Sexual and Reproductive Rights). Here, she tells us how she became a passionate advocate against El Salvador’s total abortion ban.

    September 25, 2014

    Originally Released  25 September 2014 13:30 GMT

    The government’s repressive and outdated total ban on abortion is blighting the lives of women and girls in El Salvador, pushing them to unsafe, clandestine abortions or forcing them through dangerous pregnancies, Amnesty International said today. Those terminating their pregnancies could face years in prison.

    Amnesty International’s recent report, On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador, charts how the country’s restrictive law results in the deaths of hundreds of women and girls who seek clandestine abortions. The criminalization of the practice has also resulted in those suspected of undertaking an abortion facing long prison sentences. 

    “The horrific repression that women and girls in El Salvador face is truly shocking and akin to torture. They are denied their fundamental right to make decisions about their own bodies and are severely punished if they dare to do so,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, who launched the report in San Salvador today.

    September 24, 2014

    Remember Beatriz?

    She nearly died last year because the government of El Salvador refused to let her terminate the pregnancy that was making her fatally ill—a pregnancy in which the fetus was unlikely to survive because it was missing large parts of its brain.

    Every year, thousands of women and girls are denied their human rights by El Salvador’s total abortion ban. It doesn’t matter whether they are 10 years old and pregnant because they were raped, or whether the pregnancy is a risk to their lives: El Salvador’s abortion laws force them to carry the pregnancy to term.

    Women who have a miscarriage can be jailed for up to 50 years for aggravated homicide, because the state suspects them of having a clandestine abortion.

    With no comprehensive education about sex and relationships, and obstacles to accessing contraception, El Salvador has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Latin America. And more than half of all deaths of pregnant teens in the country are due to suicide.

    June 17, 2013

    Since May, we've been asking for your help to save the life of Beatriz - a pregnant mother in El Salvador desperately in need of emergency medical treatment.

    Finally, thanks to your support, we can announce the good news that Beatriz has received the treatment she needed and is now recovering in hospital. And now she has shared her words of thanks.


    San Salvador, 10 June 2013

    To my friends from the Colectivo Feminista and everywhere else,

    I want to thank you for having supported me all the way, and without you I think I wouldn’t have been able to stand being in the hospital.

    I also want to thank you for all the actions you took for my life.

    This situation has been very difficult and without your support I wouldn’t have been able to get through it.

    I hope my example serves so that other women won’t have to go through what I suffered.

    June 04, 2013

    UPDATE: Beatriz send thanks to those who spoke out for rights, after receiving life-saving treatment during her pregnancy.

    By Jacqueline Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    Twenty-two-year-old Beatriz from El Salvador waited for 14 weeks to receive life-saving medical treatment, knowing that the fetus growing inside her was missing most of its brain and skull and would not survive, and that her own life was at greater risk each and every day due to medical conditions aggravated by pregnancy.

    Beatriz underwent a cesarean section on Monday, June 3, and her infant died not long after delivery. As of midday on June 4, Beatriz remained in hospital in stable condition.

    June 04, 2013

    No woman should be denied lifesaving medical treatment – including abortion if necessary –, Amnesty International said after the Salvadoran authorities waited for weeks before taking action to save the life of a seriously ill pregnant woman..

    The life of “Beatriz” is no longer at risk after El Salvador’s government on Monday finally administered an early caesarean section to stop her from dying because of complications posed by a non-viable pregnancy and serious illness.

    Beatriz – whose case has galvanized activists around the world – was made to suffer for weeks on end while El Salvador’s courts and officials debated whether to treat her.

    “We wish Beatriz a speedy and full recovery after this harrowing and unnecessarily drawn-out experience,” said Esther Major, Amnesty International’s researcher on El Salvador.

    “At the same time, we want to clearly state that no woman or girl should experience the kind of discrimination and torture Beatriz went through when she was fighting for her life while being denied access to life saving and health preserving abortion services.”

    May 31, 2013

    UPDATE: Beatriz send thanks to those who spoke out for rights, after receiving life-saving treatment during her pregnancy.

    Seven weeks ago, few people knew who Beatriz was, but over the last weeks the plight of this 22-year-old woman in El Salvador has inundated social media networks and travelled across the globe.

    Beatriz, a 22-year-old seriously ill pregnant woman who is six months into a non-viable pregnancy and has been diagnosed with a number of severe illnesses including lupus and kidney problems, has so far being prevented from having medical treatment that could save her life.

    May 31, 2013


    Swift medical action is desperately needed to save a young woman’s life, Amnesty International said after El Salvador’s Minister of Health suggested an early cesarean section could be performed to preserve her health.

    Beatriz, a 22-year-old seriously ill pregnant woman who is six months into a non-viable pregnancy and has been diagnosed with a number of severe illnesses including lupus and kidney problems, has so far being prevented from having medical treatment that could save her life.

    Doctors have said Beatriz could die if she continues with the pregnancy but haven’t treated her for fear of being prosecuted under the country’s total ban on abortion.

    May 30, 2013

    Yesterday's decision by the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court of Justice to deny Beatriz her appeal for access to a therapeutic abortion is "shameful and discriminatory", Amnesty International said.

    “This decision violates Beatriz's human rights" said Esther Major, Amnesty International's researcher on El Salvador.

    “To have subjected Beatriz to this lengthy drawn-out process, taking seven weeks to come to a decision which affects a person whose life is in imminent danger, is cruel, inhumane and degrading".

    The Court has also ordered the health authorities to "continue monitoring the petitioner's state of health and to provide her with the..appropriate...treatment...[since] professionals are the only ones with the knowledge and necessary alleviate their patients' suffering and address any complications which may arise..."

    May 23, 2013

    UPDATE: May 30th, Court denies Beatriz her appeal for access to a therapeutic abortion.

    By Esther Major, Central America researcher at Amnesty International

    Less than a month ago, few people knew who Beatriz was.

    But over the last few days and weeks the horrific plight of this 22-year-old woman in El Salvador has inundated social media networks and travelled across the globe.

    Mother-of-one Beatriz is pregnant and severely ill. She is currently in hospital with lupus and kidney problems. Her health situation is so severe that doctors say she could die if she continues with the pregnancy. The doctors have also diagnosed the foetus as anencephalic (lacking a large part of its brain and skull), which in almost all cases results in the baby’s death before or within a few hours or days of birth.

    May 17, 2013

    A decision by El Salvador’s Supreme Court to once again put off a ruling on whether or not to allow a severely ill pregnant woman to have an abortion shows no humanity, Amnesty International said.

    Beatriz, a 22-year-old woman whose case is gathering attention around the world, is four-and-a-half months pregnant and has been diagnosed with a number of severe illnesses, including lupus and kidney disease.

    The foetus she is carrying is not expected to survive as it is missing a large part of its brain and skull.

    Beatriz is currently in hospital, but has been denied life-saving treatment because it would require terminating her pregnancy. Abortion is illegal in El Salvador in all circumstances, even when the woman life is at risk.

    The Supreme Court had the chance to resolve this issue with a definitive ruling – the delay puts Beatriz’s life in even greater danger than was already the case.


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