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El Salvador: Total ban on abortion kills women and girls

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 12:33

    Remember Beatriz?

    She nearly died last year because the government of El Salvador refused to let her terminate the pregnancy that was making her fatally ill—a pregnancy in which the fetus was unlikely to survive because it was missing large parts of its brain.

    Every year, thousands of women and girls are denied their human rights by El Salvador’s total abortion ban. It doesn’t matter whether they are 10 years old and pregnant because they were raped, or whether the pregnancy is a risk to their lives: El Salvador’s abortion laws force them to carry the pregnancy to term.

    Women who have a miscarriage can be jailed for up to 50 years for aggravated homicide, because the state suspects them of having a clandestine abortion.

    With no comprehensive education about sex and relationships, and obstacles to accessing contraception, El Salvador has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Latin America. And more than half of all deaths of pregnant teens in the country are due to suicide.

    El Salvador’s total ban on abortion pushes women and girls like Beatriz to the brink of death.

    The ban reflects the discriminatory attitudes that pervade El Salvadoran society—attitudes that allow killings, beatings and rapes of women and girls to proliferate. Attitudes that deny them the right to make decisions that determine the course of their lives.

    Amnesty International is calling on the government of El Salvadoran to decriminalize abortion on all counts, release all women jailed for pregnancy-related “offences,” and tackle the deep-seated discrimination against women and girls that restricts their every move.

    Only then can women and girls in El Salvador have a fair chance at deciding how to live their lives.


    Please send letters to Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, calling on him to:

    • Decriminalize abortion for those seeking and providing this service;
    • Immediately and unconditionally release all women and girls who have been imprisoned for having abortions or miscarriages, including those convicted of abortion, homicide and aggravated homicide;
    • Ensure access to safe and legal abortion for all women and girls—at a minimum in cases of rape, incest, where the woman’s health or life is at risk, and where the fetus is unlikely to survive; and
    • Guarantee access to modern contraceptive information and services, and provide comprehensive sexuality education.

    Write to:

    President of El Salvador
    President Salvador Sánchez Cerén
    Salutation: Dear President

    What else can I do?