Monday 16 September 2019

El Salvador court commutes woman’s 30-year sentence for abortion

The ruling said Teodora del Carmen Vasquez had not been shown to have taken any action to end the pregnancy.

File photo of Teodora Vasquez (Salvador Melendez/AP)
File photo of Teodora Vasquez (Salvador Melendez/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

El Salvador’s Supreme Court has commuted the sentence of a woman serving 30 years in prison for what she says was a stillbirth.

The court ruled the evidence in the case did not prove she took any specific action to abort the pregnancy, which is illegal in El Salvador, and thus was eligible for a form of clemency.

Teodora del Carmen Vasquez said she was working in 2007 when she began to experience intense pain, then bleeding. She called for help before fainting. When she regained consciousness she had lost her nearly full-term baby.

Authorities charged Ms Vasquez with aggravated murder and she was convicted in 2008.

In December, a court rejected her appeal against the sentence.

El Salvador is one of four Latin American countries with total bans on abortion.

The human rights group Amnesty International said Ms Vasquez’ release “must open the door for an end to the country’s extreme anti-abortion law”.

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