The prosecution of women because of their miscarriages and stillbirths is one of the most disgusting forms male domination takes worldwide. Blaming women for something that happens to their body without them having any control over is a horrific way to deny them of their humanity. Sentencing them to 30 years long prison sentences adds overwhelming amounts of pain to the already dreadful mental distress often caused by the miscarriage itself.
When women are prosecuted for the death of their unborn children, the problem is not only that they are blamed for an act they did not commit, but also that greater value is placed in the life of the unborn child than on the one of the woman’s. This contributes to a system where men deny women and LGBTIQ+ people the right to decide what happens to their body, and where their physical and mental health is overlooked.
The case of Teodora del Carmen Vasquez is particularly horrifying. In addition to being accused of abortion rather than recognised as a victim of pregnancy complications, she suffered from her flawed trial and lack of due process. The fact that she comes from a poor rural background and could not afford appropriate legal counsel makes her situation even more appalling.
I call on the Salvadorian authorities to immediately release the women imprisoned for miscarriages, such as Teodora del Carmen Vasquez, and to decriminalise abortion in all circumstances. Our humanity is at stake.