updatedJul 5, 2022 at 6:37 am
In the strictly conservative country, judges repeatedly convict women who are accused of having had an abortion or who gave birth to a stillbirth as a result of an accident.
In strict Catholic El Salvador, a woman who suffered a medical emergency after giving birth to her child has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the death of the newborn. The organization Acdatee, which campaigns for the right to abortion, said on Monday that this was the first time in the history of the Central American country that a woman had been sentenced to the maximum penalty for “aggravated homicide” in such a case.
The 23-year-old, who lives in poor conditions in a farming family, gave birth to her child in a latrine in June 2020 after the sudden onset of labor. “I felt something coming out of me, it was dark and I didn’t see what I was emitting,” she later said, according to Acdatee.
The newborn died a few hours after birth
The young woman panicked and had to be taken to a hospital, where she was given three blood transfusions. According to the prosecutor, the newborn died a few hours after birth. The gestation period was between 37 and 40 weeks.
According to Acdatee, the court justified the verdict with the sentence: “Mothers are a source of protection for their children in all circumstances, and you were not.” In the extremely conservative and strictly Catholic El Salvador, abortion is forbidden in all cases. A woman can be sentenced to up to eight years in prison for having an abortion.
Judges convict women accused of abortion or accidental stillbirth, but consistently charge “grievous manslaughter.” It carries a maximum sentence of 50 years. According to Acdatee, the maximum sentence after such a conviction has now been imposed on a woman for the first time. The organization announced that it would appeal the verdict.