El Salvador gives woman accused of abortion 30 years prison

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador has sentenced a woman who suffered an obstetric emergency that ended her pregnancy to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide, according to a nongovernmental organization assisting in her defense.

The Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion said Tuesday in a statement that a woman they identified only as “Esme” was sentenced Monday. The woman had already been in pre-trial detention for two years following her arrest when she sought medical care in a public hospital.

“The judge acted with partiality, giving greater weight to the version offered by the Attorney General’s Office, which was loaded with stigmas and gender stereotypes,” the group said. They said they would appeal.

The sentence could not be immediately confirmed because the courts were closed Tuesday for Mother’s Day.

El Salvador maintains a total ban on abortion and a number of women have been arrested and sentenced to prison after suffering apparent miscarriages that were reported to authorities.

In the past two decade, nearly 180 women have been prosecuted. Since 2009, the government has released 64 of them. Just since December, eight women serving long prison sentences have had those sentences commuted.

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