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Human Rights Group Slams El Salvador for Jailing Teen Rape Victim After Stillbirth

A leading human rights organization is denouncing the incarceration of a rape survivor in El Salvador for homicide charges after she suffered a stillbirth.

“The sentence against a 19-year-old rape survivor of 30 years in prison on charges of 'aggravated homicide' after she suffered pregnancy-related complications, is a terrifying example of the need for El Salvador to urgently repeal its retrograde anti-abortion law,” Amnesty International said.

Evelyn Beatriz Hernández Cruz, 19, was afraid to report her rape; she did not receive medical care and was unaware she was pregnant when she went into labor.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said that “El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families. It goes against human rights and it has no place in the country or anywhere.”

File photo of Salvadoran women taking part in a demonstration to demand the decriminalization of abortion in San Salvador on 23 February 2017. Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images

El Salvador, which passed the anti-abortion law in 1988, is one of five countries in Latin America where abortion in all circumstances is illegal. The other ones are Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Chile. The criminalization of abortion pushes many women to jail, even those who suffer complications during pregnancy.

Sara García, a woman's advocate at the organization Colectivo Feminista in El Salvador, told the Associated Press there are over 25,000 women a year who became pregnant after rape.

Amnesty International states that some women in El Salvador have received 40-year sentences following miscarriages, obstetric emergencies or abortions.

“All women and girls imprisoned for having had an abortion or experiencing obstetric emergencies should be immediately and unconditionally released, and the law must be repealed without delay.” Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

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