Complications can occur at any stage of a person’s pregnancy. When they do, women must receive urgent, compassionate medical attention and emotional support. However, women in El Salvador, especially those who do not have economic resources for private health care, are arrested and taken to jail at the first sign of pregnancy loss.
El Salvador is one of three countries in Central America and 24 worldwide with a total abortion ban that ultimately affects women who involuntarily experience the loss of a pregnancy. The ban is so broadly enforced that women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths can be prosecuted. Today, at least 17 women remain in prison after suffering an obstetric emergency, like a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Every year, 20 percent of pregnancies around the world face complications and emergencies, and nearly half a million women die from pregnancy complications. Loss of pregnancy can occur at any time due to multiple factors, including hypertension, polycystic ovaries, diabetes, as well as other conditions if they are not treated in time.
We are a group of social justice organizations, reproductive rights advocates, and concerned citizens calling on El Salvador’s government and President Nayib Bukele to take action and release the women who remain in prison for suffering an obstetric emergency that caused them to lose their pregnancy. It is time to reunite our families and begin a new future for women and girls in El Salvador.
It is time to FREE THE 17!