A self-described “pro-life” group based in the United States is propping up El Salvador’s universal abortion ban, a law that has proved fatal for the Central American nation’s women.
According to a Guardian report published Wednesday, the Virginia-based Human Life International would appear to have gifted Sí a la Vida (“Yes to Life”), the anti-abortion group bolstering El Salvador’s ban on the procedure, nearly $700,000 between 2000 and 2014.
The El Salvadoran legislative assembly amended the country’s constitution to criminalize abortion in 1999, outlawing the procedure in every circumstance, including threat to the mother’s life.
Women found guilty of aborting a fetus may be imprisoned for two to eight years, according to Amnesty International; the medical professionals who help them can face 12-year sentences.
Even a miscarriage can mean prison time — up to 50 years for an aggravated homicide charge.
According to Amnesty International, 11% of patients who opt for clandestine abortions — of which there were roughly 20,000 between 2005 and 2008 — died from their efforts, likely an underestimate.
The inability to secure an abortion may also explain why so many pregnant El Salvadorans take their own lives: Amnesty International reports that 57% of maternal deaths among women and girls aged 10 to 19 are suicides. Read more (7/27/17)