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El Salvador woman imprisoned after miscarriage released

September 23, 2020 GMT

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A 29-year-old woman who suffered an apparent miscarriage but was convicted of aggravated homicide under El Salvador’s strict anti-abortion laws was released from prison Wednesday.

Cindy Erazo had served six years of a 10-year sentence before a judge granted her conditional release. The law allows for such releases after more than half a sentence has been served. She was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison, but that sentence was later reduced.

In 2011, Erazo experienced a miscarriage in a shopping mall bathroom on the outskirts of the capital. She was taken to a hospital where authorities accused her of attempting to abort the fetus.

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Human rights groups say at least 18 innocent women are currently in prison for similar cases in El Salvador. Those groups argued that there was never any evidence Erazo had tried to abort her pregnancy or in any way harm the fetus.

Paula Ávila Guillén, executive director of the Center for Women’s Equality, said, “Cindy’s case brought international attention to the horrible reality of the extreme prohibition on abortion in El Salvador and the insidious culture of persecuting innocent women that it perpetuates.”

Salvadoran law criminalizes all abortions and subjects women as well as doctors to prosecution.