50 Years In Prison For Suffering A Miscarriage

50 Years In Prison For Suffering A Miscarriage
After having a miscarriage, Elsy served 10 years in prison for aggravated homicide. 📷 BBC

Four women sat down in front of the whole media in El Salvador. They had each spent close to 50 years behind bars. Their crime was having a miscarriage in a nation with one of the harshest abortion laws in the world.

One of them was Elsy.

Elsy was in her first trimester of pregnancy and employed as a domestic helper in her hometown in June 2011. She recalls using the restroom at work, where she reportedly passed out.

She was surrounded by cops when she eventually recovered. Her infant was no longer there. Her pregnancy termination had been reported by her boss.

At her trial, Elsy received a 30-year sentence for aggravated homicide. Before campaigners were able to get her sentence reduced, she served 10 years in jail.

“I felt terrible in prison, all I could think of was the 30 years,” Elsy told the BBC. “I thought I’d never see my mother or any of my family again.”

“I just kept thinking, ‘Why? Why did those who testified against me do this?'”

Elsy claims that her punishment was just a “injustice which happens” in El Salvador now that she is back home with her family. She notes that many people are still experiencing what she did.

A woman going by the name “Esme” was recently given a 30-year term for aggravated homicide after suffering a miscarriage.

50 Years In Prison For Suffering A Miscarriage
Mariana Moisa says abortion rights is a painful subject that people would rather ignore. 📷 BBC

According to Mariana Moisa, El Salvador’s most prominent advocates for women’s rights, the fight isn’t just about the women’s freedom or even about changing the law— it’s about changing societal perceptions.

She said inside the San Salvador offices of her group, “We have to keep working, it rests on us and not the political parties. “We need to promote genuine cultural changes while facing up to our reality.”

The US Supreme Court has overruled a decision that declared abortion to be a constitutional right in the US. Campaigners like Ms. Moisa are concerned that this will give conservatives in Central America a stronger voice.

Read: Abortion Rights Ruled Unconstitutional By The US Supreme Court

El Salvador is responsible for the death of a woman who was jailed after having a miscarriage

Women In The US Are Being Jailed For Having Miscarriages

She advises the US to observe how an outright prohibition can result in “denying women their freedom under these circumstances” by looking south.

It won’t be simple for El Salvador to adopt new mindsets, though.

Additionally, evangelical Christianity is currently the religion in Central America that is expanding the quickest.

With evangelical ideals and viewpoints becoming more prevalent inside parliament, its influence is expanding along with its political clout.

Guillermo Gallegos Is Staunchly Against Abortion.
Guillermo Gallegos, one of the vice presidents of the national assembly, is staunchly anti-abortion. 📷 EDH Archivo

One of the vice presidents of the national legislature, Guillermo Gallegos, is vehemently opposed to abortion.

Even in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, he claims, decriminalisation would never get past the initial legislative obstacle.

He explains, “In any scenario when that small creature still has life, then I incline towards rescuing it above saving the mother.

Abortion is completely prohibited in El Salvador, even in circumstances of rape or incest. This long-held belief is now strengthened by the US Supreme Court’s decision.

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