A 38-year-old Salvadoran woman has been released after serving 10 years in prison for suffering a miscarriage.
The woman, identified as Elsy, then a 28-year-old single mother, had sought medical help for an obstetric emergency after suffering an apparent miscarriage while working as a domestic helper in June 2011.
She was accused of aborting her pregnancy and immediately arrested.
Abortion is illegal in El Salvador under all circumstances, including medical emergencies that could threaten the woman’s life.
Elsy was given a 30 year-sentence under the charges of aggravated homicide and jailed, separating her from her son, who she had been looking after.
Her trial had been filled with irregularities, and there had been no presumption of innocence, abortion rights group Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto said.
Despite the Ministry of Justice commuting her sentence earlier this year, a lower court refused her release, which took a month and a half of her freedom before she was eventually freed.
On Wednesday Feb. 9, she was reunited with her family in Yayantique in eastern El Salvador.
Elsy is the fifth of of 17 women who activists and celebrities have been campaigning for.
Last month, three women — Karen, Kathy and Evelyn — were freed after they were sentenced to 30 years in prison for the same charges.
“We celebrate Elsy’s release after 10 years. Her erroneous 30-year sentence for aggravated homicide is over. We must continue to fight tirelessly to free those who remain deprived of liberty,” the abortion rights group said.
Activists and celebrities have been campaigning to free at least 17 women who have been convicted and imprisoned after having medical emergencies and calling on President Nayib Bukele to let the women return home as soon as possible.
The campaign “Nos Faltan Las 17” – Bring Home the 17 – aims to create consciousness to the unjust treatment that Salvadoran women face if they suffer medical emergencies during pregnancy.
More than 140 women have been charged under the country’s abortion ban in the past two decades, according to CBS News.
Although several rulings have been overturned in recent years and many have been freed, women are still being prosecuted for having stillbirths and abortions due to medical emergencies.