Woman who lost a pregnancy sentenced to 50 years in prison

Woman who lost a pregnancy sentenced to 50 years in prison

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In El Salvador, a young woman who suffered an obstetric emergency and gave birth in a latrine in her home was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated homicide. The Central American country is one of the strictest against abortion.

Salvadoran Lesly Ramírez was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated homicide after giving birth in a latrine due to an obstetric emergency. The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that the young mother had killed her baby after giving birth, while her defenders said that she had suffered a miscarriage.

“gender bias”

The sentence against Lesly Ramírez, adopted on June 29, was based “on mere gender prejudice,” the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethical and Eugenic Abortion (Acdatee) said in a statement, which will appeal the sentence to request her release.

Acdatee explained that one of the arguments that the court told Ramírez was: “Mothers are the source of protection for children in any circumstance of life and you were not.”

This young woman is part of a large family in a situation of poverty dedicated to agriculture, with a house without water or electricity. In June 2020, after going to the bathroom in a latrine in her house, she unknowingly went into rapid labor expelling the unborn child. As detailed by the Prosecutor’s Office at the time, she was a girl between 37 and 40 weeks’ gestation who was presumably born alive and died hours later.

“I felt something come out of me, it was dark and I couldn’t see what I was expelling,” Ramírez said at the time. She panicked and after the emergency she was hospitalized and received three blood transfusions. She was later arrested.

“First time in history”

In El Salvador, prosecutors and judges classify obstetric emergencies and cases of miscarriage as “aggravated homicide,” with sentences of up to 50 years. This, despite the fact that the Salvadoran Penal Code since 1998 establishes penalties of up to eight years for abortion, a practice prohibited in the Central American country in all cases.

“For the first time in history since the absolute criminalization of abortion, more than 20 years ago, the maximum penalty is imposed for the crime of aggravated homicide, that is, a sentence of 50 years against it. And unfortunately we are facing a very serious violation to human rights and that also reflects that the pattern of arbitrary detentions against women who suffer obstetric emergencies in El Salvador continues,” Edward Pérez, senior legal advisor of the Latin American Offices of the Center for Reproductive Rights, explains to RFI.

Since 2009, 65 women convicted of health emergencies during pregnancy, most of them in precarious economic conditions, have been released with the support of Acdatee and other groups. But according to Edward Pérez, what “at first seemed like a gesture of progress towards the recognition of women’s reproductive freedoms” does nothing more than “validate once again the unfortunate context of criminalization against them.”

Last year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the State of El Salvador responsible for the case of Manuela, a Salvadoran woman who died in prison in 2010, serving a 30-year sentence for an out-of-hospital delivery classified as aggravated homicide.

with the AFP

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Written by Editor TLN

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