Abortion1

All campaigns against criminalization of abortion in El Salvador

EL SALVADOR'S TOTAL BAN ON ABORTION: THE FACTS

How can having a miscarriage or still-birth be a crime? Women who suffer miscarriages, still-births or other pregnancy-related complications in El Salvador are routinely suspected of having an ‘abortion’, which is banned in all circumstances. They are often subsequently charged with ‘homicide’ or ‘aggravated homicide’.

What is the law on abortion?

El Salvador has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world which does not meet international human rights obligations. Abortion is illegal in all circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest, when a woman’s life or health is at risk, or in cases of severe and fatal foetal impairment. It’s also a criminal offence for anyone to help a woman or girl have an abortion.

What are the penalties?

Penalties are severe, ranging from two to eight years in custody for both women and those who help them, and with longer sentences of six to 12 years for health professionals. In the most extreme cases, women have been incarcerated on charges of aggravated homicide, which carries a penalty of up 50 years in prison. A local organization is currently working on the cases of at least 18 women serving prison sentences due to pregnancy-related complications. Some of these women have already served more than 10 years in prison, and most have been sentenced to 30 years or more.

Do women still have abortions?

Despite the ban, clandestine abortions are common. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 19,290 abortions in El Salvador between 2005 and 2008, though the figure is likely to be much higher. Common methods used by women and girls to terminate a pregnancy include: ingesting rat poison and other pesticides; thrusting knitting needles, pieces of wood and other sharp objects into the cervix; or taking a drug used to treat stomach ulcers.

What impact has this had?

The total ban on abortion is killing women and girls. In 2011, the WHO indicated that 11% of women and girls who sought an illegal abortion in El Salvador died as a result. Many women are afraid to seek medical assistance when they experience pregnancy-related complications, leading inevitably to more preventable deaths.

What do people in El Salvador think about abortion?

A newspaper poll in 2013 revealed 74% of people polled in El Salvador favoured abortion when a woman’s life is at risk.

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Campaigns (2)

  • El Salvador: 50 años de prisión por un aborto ¿En serio?
    La propuesta de ley presentada por ARENA es altamente irresponsable y muestra un total desconocimiento de los factores que pueden llevar a una mujer a enfrentar un aborto y/o a considerar necesaria la interrupción de un embarazo que ponga en riesgo su salud o su vida o por ser un embarazo forzado resultado de una violación. El año pasado, 25,000 niñas y adolescentes han estado embarazadas, representando 30 % del total de partos en el país y 69 niñas y adolescentes al día son madres sin tener el desarrollo físico, psíquico ni emocional para afrontarlo. De ellas 1,444 son niñas entre 10 y 14 años. Todos estos embarazos son producto de violación o abuso sexual, delitos contemplados en nuestra legislación. La propuesta de ARENA es una sentencia a muerte para las mujeres que se encuentren ante problemas obstétricos graves como un embarazo ectópico, cardiopatías congénitas, problemas hipertensivos o cáncer. También es una amenaza contra el personal médico que considere necesaria la interrupción de un embarazo, como una alternativa responsable para garantizar el derecho a la salud y vida de la mujer gestante. Bajo estas prohibiciones, el personal de salud se encuentra de manos atadas. Estas mujeres, además de no ver garantizado su derecho constitucional a la salud, se verán amenazadas con prisión y el personal médico estará ante el dilema de cumplir con su deber profesional de salvarles la vida y la salud o de afrontar una condena de 50 años de prisión. Además, la actual legislación penalizadora de aborto incumple las Convenciones y Tratados Internacionales de la OEA y Naciones Unidas firmadas por El Salvador, las cuales de forma reiterada han realizado señalamientos y recomendaciones al Estado salvadoreño para que revise su legislación respecto a la total prohibición del aborto, haciéndola compatible con otros derechos fundamentales como el de la salud y la vida de la mujer, así como con su dignidad. La propuesta penalizadora de ARENA profundiza el aislamiento internacional de El Salvador respecto a la legislación y estándares internacionales de protección de derechos humanos. Existen múltiples experiencias en la legislación latinoamericana y mundial que pueden servir de inspiración para actualizar nuestra legislación. La Organización Mundial de la Salud, la Federación Internacional de Ginecología y Obstetricia, la Asociación de Gineco-Obstetras de El Salvador pueden explicarles las razones médicas que hacen aconsejable una interrupción del embarazo para preservar la salud o la vida de las mujeres. Leer más : http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-36870459 http://www.elfaro.net/es/201607/opinion/18968/Vel%C3%A1squez-Parker-y-su-vergonzosa-propuesta.htm
    1,304 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Agrupación Ciudadana Por la Despenalización del Aborto
  • 50 years in prison for induced abortion? Really?
    Numbers of evidence-based studies have shown that criminalizing and/or restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of abortions. Moreover, in countries such as El Salvador where abortion is highly restricted, it is typically unsafe, where women seeking abortions are forced to compromise their health and often risk their lives.Research from the World Health Organization (WHO) has similarly indicated that the rate of unsafe abortion worldwide is likely to increase unless women are provided access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including access to contraceptives and access to safe and legal abortion. In the case of El Salvador, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women has in fact identified the complete ban on abortion as being a direct contributor to the current high rates of maternal mortality in the country. Furthermore, young, poor and unmarried women are those who are most likely to resort to unsafe abortion, highlighting the impact of restrictive abortion laws in perpetuating social injustice and inequality. Restrictive laws and the threat of criminal sentences may also result in service providers being afraid to provide the necessary care and treatment to women experiencing obstetrical and/or post-abortion care emergencies, for fear of being accused of facilitating access to abortion, thereby further endangering women’s health and lives. One of the most serious consequences of the complete ban on abortion in El Salvador is the incarceration and wrongful imprisonment of numbers of women who have suffered pregnancy-related complications and miscarriages. As noted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the complete ban on abortion in El Salvador has led to “serious cases of suffering and injustice,” allowing for women to be prosecuted for pregnancy losses under any circumstance, and particularly affecting women of lower socioeconomic status.
    6 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Agrupación Ciudadana Por la Despenalización del Aborto