Salvadoran Woman Freed After Being Imprisoned for Giving Birth to Stillborn Child


In 2007 a Salvadoran woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for giving birth to a stillborn child. Now after serving a decade in prison she has finally been freed.

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Since 1998, El Salvador has banned abortion under any circumstance meaning women can be convicted of murder. Teodora del Carmen Vasquez was nine months pregnant when she gave birth to a stillborn baby while at work. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide and accused of having an abortion. The mother-of-one claimed to have called emergency but fell unconscious from the pain when giving birth and woke up to a stillborn baby in the bathroom.

In December, her appeal was denied by judges and she had been incarcerated at the Ilopango prison near San Salvador. 

Recently, El Salvador's Supreme Court said there were 'powerful reasons of justice and fairness which warranted granting her the grace of commuting her sentence' and she has been set free.

Amnesty International Norway campaigned on behalf of Ms. Vásquez and had previously expressed concern that she appeared before the same judges who sentenced her 10 years ago.

PLUS: Where Do Latin American Countries Stand on Abortion?

Abortion in many Latin American countries is illegal and women are fighting hard for women such as Vasquez who was unjustly imprisoned.