El Salvador has released a woman after she was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison for allegedly terminating a pregnancy.
Nine years ago, Sara Rogel was arrested at the age of 20. The student, who was eight months pregnant at the time, had been taken to hospital for bleeding after a fall at home, but was later arrested following accusations of terminating a pregnancy.
Rogel was detained and later charged with aggravated homicide. As a result, she faced 30 years in prison because of the laws in El Salvador.
El Salvador, as a socially conservative and largely Catholic country, has some of the strictest abortion laws on the planet. In fact, cases for the mother’s safety and rape are not an exception in the outlawing of the practice.
On the back of these laws, Rogel served 10 years in prison for her alleged abortion before being released on parole after her sentence was commuted.
Rogel left the women’s prison near Zacatecoluca with her family and lawyer Karla Vaquerano.
Speaking to AFP, the lawyer declared that ‘[Rogel] was deprived of freedom for almost nine years, in a sentence we believed was unfairly given.’ Others have also spoken out about the sentencing, which saw her imprisoned for her twenties.
Feminist activist Morena Herrera told Reuters:
While in mourning for the heartbreaking loss of her pregnancy, Sara should have been with her family. Instead, she was unjustly imprisoned for nine years.
Unfortunately, Rogel’s case is not unique. El Salvador bans abortions in all circumstances, much like Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua. In South America, many countries restrict the ability of women to have a choice in pregnancy. Some attribute this to the prevalence of Catholicism in the countries.
Paula Avila-Guillen, executive director of the Women’s Equality Center, said in a statement that there are more than 17 women who are ‘still unjustly detained’.
CNN reported that Avila-Guillen said:
Each of these cases shows the insidious consequences of the absolute criminalization of abortion, resulting in a state that persecutes and jails women at the moment when they most need access to health and protection.
In recent years, some rulings have been reversed or shortened as the law has been scrutinised, but it is clear that people want further action from the government of the country.
Featured Credit Image: Getty Images
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