22 January 2015, 00:00 UTC
A pardon granted by El Salvador’s Parliamentary Assembly to a young woman imprisoned after suffering a miscarriage is a triumph of justice and gives hope to the other 15 women languishing in jail on similar charges, said Amnesty International.
In 2007 “Guadalupe” received a 30 year jail sentence after authorities wrongly suspected she had terminated her pregnancy. She was only 18 years old.
“With this decision, El Salvador has undone a terrible injustice. Guadalupe should have never been jailed in the first place. This release is a triumph of justice and a result of the tireless work by local human rights activists,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“This decision must mark a turning point for El Salvador’s retrograde laws which punish women and girls when having medical complications during their pregnancies. It is time for the authorities to review the sentences against all women imprisoned for pregnancy-related complications and end its criminalization of women and girls and its heinous anti-abortion ban.”
El Salvador has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world, criminalizing abortion on all grounds, even when a woman or girls’ life or health is in danger and in cases of rape. Women and girls suspected of having illegal abortions are also often cruelly and deliberately charged with homicide, as in Guadalupe’s case.
The other 15 women jailed after suffering pregnancy-related complications are also seeking pardons. Their cases will come before the Parliamentary Assembly in the coming months.
My Body My Rights is Amnesty International’s global campaign to stop the control and criminalization of sexuality and reproduction by governments and others. Over 2014-2015 the campaign is working for change in people’s lives in a number of countries, including El Salvador. This campaign aims to remind world leaders of their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil sexual and reproductive rights.