Woman Imprisoned for Two Years Over Stillbirth

Evelyn Hernández, a rape survivor, gave birth to a stillborn. She was accused of inducing an abortion and spent 33 months in a prison in El Salvador.

The retrial was a first for such a case in the Central American nation

Evelyn Hernández was accused of murder in El Salvador after giving birth to a stillborn baby. After spending 2 years in jail, she has been freed. Evelyn’s state of mind or her intentions to end the life of the newborn child. Hernández’s case is one of the most well-known in El Salvador, where abortion is completely illegal. The prosecution since April 2016 has been accusing her of aggravated homicide. The truth is that deliveries in toilets are actually quite common, especially in rural areas, among poorer women with a fairly low level of education. And yes, the prosecution will always categorize it as aggravated homicide. In 2017, at 19 years old, Hernández was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“I genuinely didn’t know that I was pregnant. If I had, I would have been waiting for it with pride and joy…This… I was raped. The penalty for abortion in El Salvador can go up to 50 years. In this country, where abortion is entirely criminalized, it’s very difficult to accept these cases. Almost everybody is against it. People want women to be condemned without first understanding the case. And I believe that if women’s organizations didn’t play such an outspoken role, as well as media coverage, in particular international media, we wouldn’t be able to achieve freedom for these women. I believe we are already beginning to break barriers with this taboo subject, as something no one wanted to talk about or take a position on before.” “Here, no-one gives up, no-one gives in! “Go feminism, we will succeed!!” I can’t thank you enough because you have always been here. Thank you! “Yes, we did it! Yes, we did it!”

Hernandez's case was seen as a test for women's reproductive rights under new President Nayib Bukele, who has said he believes abortion is acceptable only when the mother's life is at risk but that he opposes criminalizing women who have miscarriages.