Miscarriage Resulting in Imprisonment in El Salvador

In the BBC article linked below, one sees a major issue facing many Latin American countries today: that of a corrupt, unjust legal system. In much of Latin America, the only ones for whom the justice systems work are those that come from privileged backgrounds. However, most in South America live in poverty and, often, in inhuman conditions. An extremely surprising example of the flawed justice systems is found in El Salvador, where women are charged with criminal offenses and imprisoned if they miscarry a child. In El Salvador, abortion is illegal and carries a prison term of seven years. However, women who actually want their babies but, by some unfortunate circumstances, miscarry are charged with homicide. They are not given a trial, nor are there any real investigations conducted in order to ascertain that infanticide had, indeed, taken place. Instead, women suffering miscarriages are simply arrested, often waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed after suffering from bleeding or injury that resulted in the miscarriage. To make matters worse, while abortion carries a penalty of seven years in prison, infanticide carries a minimum of thirty years! Thirty years in prison (minimum) for a miscarriage over which one had no control! The other issue with this already-grotesque situation is the fact that, in implementing such measures, the government targets poor women. First, wealthy women have access to better healthcare, nutrition, and work conditions than poor women. In addition, doctors are required to report miscarriages so that the patient can be arrested. However, wealthy women have private doctors who would not risk alienating privileged patients by reporting them to the authorities. Thus, the people who can afford good medical care are exempt from these measures. It is the poor women, who find themselves bleeding in public, state-run hospitals, that are the constant victims of these barbaric methods of justice.



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