El Salvador has one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the world. A side-effect is that women who suffer miscarriages are sometimes suspected of inducing an abortion – and can even be jailed for murder.
Glenda Xiomara Cruz was crippled by abdominal pain and heavy bleeding in the early hours of 30 October 2012. The 19-year-old from Puerto El Triunfo, eastern El Salvador, went to the nearest public hospital where doctors said she had lost her baby.
It was the first she knew about the pregnancy as her menstrual cycle was unbroken, her weight practically unchanged, and a pregnancy test in May 2012 had been negative.
Four days later she was charged with aggravated murder – intentionally murdering the 38-to-42 week foetus – at a court hearing she was too sick to attend. The hospital had reported her to the police for a suspected abortion.
After two emergency operations and three weeks in hospital she was moved to Ilopango women's prison on the outskirts of the capital San Salvador. Then last month she was sentenced to 10 years in jail, the judge ruling that she should have saved the baby's life.
Written By: Nina Lakhani
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