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Identified as Kenya, this woman was raped at age 17, became pregnant, and suffered an obstetric emergency, which the Police considered an abortion attempt.
On Monday, the Salvadoran Justice granted conditional freedom to a woman who has spent nine years in prison as part of a 30-year conviction for aggravated homicide, which she allegedly committed when aborting.
The Citizen Group for the Abortion Decriminalization (ACDA) explained that the woman, identified as Kenya, was raped at age 17, became pregnant, and suffered an obstetric emergency, which the Police considered an abortion attempt.
"We celebrate the liberation of Kenya by stressing that our fight for the right to women on deciding on their bodies will not finish until we ensure justice for all companions," ACDA President Morena Herrera stated.
The Salvadoran penal code prohibits abortion in all cases and establishes penalties of up to eight years for those citizens who commit it. Despite this, prosecutors and judges often classify abortion cases —including the involuntary termination of pregnancy— as aggravated homicides, which are punishable by up to 50 years' imprisonment.
On Dec. 23, 2021, Karen, Kathy, and Evelyn, all of whom were serving prison sentences after suffering obstetric emergencies, were also released. However, under the severe Salvadoran legislation, ten women are still unjustly imprisoned for suffering health emergencies during their pregnancies.
Besides the retrograde justice system, women who have been tried for abortion in this Latin American country often face social exclusion, which stems from conservative religious values.
"I was afraid of being singled out when I was released. However, I always said in my mind: I have to put my face up because what that people point out to me is not true. Now, I help other women in a similar situation of mine to fight these stereotypes, which hinder our society's progress," Evelyn told BBC.