SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – Salvadoran maid Evelyn Hernandez says she did not realize she was pregnant when as an 18-year-old she delivered a stillborn son after a three-day stomach ache. A court in the Central American country, which bans abortion under all circumstances, ruled it aggravated homicide.
Prosecutors claimed that she had induced an abortion, and Hernandez was sentenced to 30 years. After she served nearly three years, the Supreme Court in February ordered her released and re-tried because the original judge’s decision was based on prejudice and insufficient evidence.
Now 21, Hernandez faces retrial this month in a case that has thrown a spotlight on the predominantly Roman Catholic country’s prosecution of women for aggravated homicide when their babies are stillborn or die during home deliveries.
Some 147 women were sentenced up to 40 years in prison in such cases between 2000 and 2014, according to the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion.