Friday, October 25, 2013
El Salvador Has The Toughest Anti- Abortion Laws In Thw World
El Salvador has one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the world. A side-effect is that women who suffer miscarriages or stillbirths are suspected of having induced abortion and can be jailed sometimes for murder. Glenda Cruz was crippled by abdominal pain and heavy bleeding in the early hours of October 30, 2012. The 19-year old from Estern El Salvador went to the nearest public hospital where doctors told that she had lost her baby. It was first time she knew about pregnancy as her menstual cycle was unbroken, her weight practically unchanged, and pregnancy test in May 2012 had been negative. Four days later she ws charged with agravated murder- intentionally murdering 38-42 weeks foetus- at a court hearing she was too weak to attend. The hospital had reported her to the police for suspected abortion. After two emergency operations and three weks in hospital she was moved to llpiango women's prison on the outskirts of capital San Salvador. Then last month she was sentenced to 10 years in jail, the judge ruled that she should have saved the baby's life. El Salvador is one of the countries with a total ban on abortion, along with Nicagua, Chile, Honduras and Dominican Republic. Since 1998 law has allowed no exceptions- even if woman is raped, her life is at risk or foetus is severly deformed. More than 200 women were reported to the police between 2000 and 2011, of whom 129 wer prosecuted and 49 convicted- 26 for murder( with sentences from 12 to 35 years) and 23 for abortion. according to research by Citizens' Group for the Discriminalization of abortion. Seven more have been convicted since 2012. The study underlines that these women are overwhemingly poor, poorly educated and unmarried- and they are usually denounced by public hospital staff. Not a single criminal case originate from the private health sector where thousands of abortions take place annually. Last year when Maria Teresa Rivera suffered a miscarriage, she was sentenced to 40 years in jail for ggravated murder. She had no pregnancy symptoms before sudden severe pain and bleeding and was reported to police by public hospital where she had sought emegency help. The strict abortion law has other serious Human Rights Implication. Suicide was the most common cause of death in 2011 among 10 to 19-year-old-girls, half of whom were pregnant, according to health ministry figures. It was also the third most common cause of maternal mortality.