A Salvadoran woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after she suffered a miscarriage following a medical emergency.
The woman, identified as Esme, had sought medical help at a local hospital after experiencing an obstetric emergency in 2020.
She was then arrested by authorities and accused of having an abortion.
Abortion is illegal in El Salvador under all circumstances, including in medical emergencies that could threaten the woman’s life.
Esme spent almost two years in pre-trial detention, separated from her seven-year-old daughter, and was given a 30-year-sentence on Monday May 7 for aggravated homicide.
More than 140 women have been charged under the country’s abortion ban in the past two decades, according to CBS News.
This is the first time in seven years that a Salvadoran court has jailed a woman for having an obstetric emergency.
Her lawyer, Karla Vaquerano, has said the court acted “with bias, favoring the version offered by the prosecution, which was loaded with stigmas and gender stereotypes.”
Her lawyer intends to appeal the court’s decision.
“Thank you for supporting me and accompanying me in this injustice that I am experiencing,” Esme said, after the court announced her sentence.
Esme’s case is a “deep blow” to the fight to legalize abortion in the country, the president of abortion rights group the Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto, Morena Herrera, said.
Abortion rights groups have managed to slowly overturn the rulings of wrongfully convicted women over the past few years.
Last February, a woman was freed after she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the same charge.
Last year, the Congress, controlled mostly by president Nayib Bukele, archived a legislation that would decriminalize women from having an abortion under circumstances of rape, endangerment of the mother’s health, and fetus malformations.