Women Sent to Prison After Miscarriages in El Salvador

Steven Petrov
The Paw Print

The strict catholic dogmas and how they are used as basics of the law

Abortion is strictly against the Christian religion and more specifically against the Catholic tradition, with the reasoning that if God has decided to give life, who are we to take it away. This reasoning may seem really outdated for those who are not true believers, and even though when thinking about abortion in this way it can never be seen as a good act, in our modern day world there are exceptions.
My personal opinion is that if you are not able to give your child a good and loving environment for it to grow up in then you should not have a child, at least not at that point of your life. You should be able to secure your child with good perspectives for the future and help financially, emotionally, and serve as an example in its life. Otherwise you are dooming the young and innocent kid to struggle all his life, due to your inability to recognize that you were not ready to be a parent at that moment.
El Salvador is a country in Central America, and it’s also known as the most densely populated country in the region. The country is one of the 5 countries in the world where there is a law against abortion without any exceptions including miscarriages.
The other 4 countries in the list are Nicaragua, Chile, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Ever since 1998, Salvador’s government has passed a law that forbids abortion and all of its forms (miscarriages, still births, etc.) and has the right to accuse mothers of murder and sentence them to prison.
There are numerous cases where women are being persecuted and sentenced to between 12 and 35 years of prison because the courts’ reasoning that “they didn’t do all they could in order to save the child.”
One more recent case that I found out after researching the topic is about a woman named Glenda Xiomara Cruz, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being charged with premeditated murder. The 19 year old Cruz, felt strong stomach pain as well as intense bleeding on October 30th last year, and after going to the nearest hospital the doctors find out what had really happened: she had lost her baby.
The fact was that Cruz was not even aware that she was pregnant, because her weight hadn’t changed over the past months. However, her physical condition at the time of acceptance in the hospital was critical and the doctors knew that unless she underwent two emergency surgeries she would not make it through.
While she was at the hospital for more than three weeks, she missed the first court hearing on her trial due to her critical physical condition. As soon as she got released from the hospital she was sentenced to 10 years in prison, even though the prosecution wanted a 50-year sentence. Glenda Cruz’s case is just one of many throughout the past 15 years in El Salvador.
Between 2000 and 2011 there have been more than 200 reports for abortion filed in the police department against women from all backgrounds. Subsequently 129 charges have been pressed, and 49 women have been sentenced to prison. In 2012 only, there have been seven women found guilty for murder through abortion.
This is the tough situation in Salvador at the moment and even though many worldwide humanitarian organizations as well as women’s rights organizations have been insisting for significant changes within El Salvador’s country policy on abortion, the government has still been silent on the topic showing absolutely no tolerance or desire to change.

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