By Kaitlyn Denzler, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Over two and a half years ago, Amnesty International launched the My Body, My Rights (MBMR) Campaign, a global effort to end the control and criminalization of sexuality and reproduction, and to help everyone know and claim their sexual and reproductive rights. Three years on, our work on sexual and reproductive rights remains as important as ever. Here’s why we’re still fighting: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of “Las 17” group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.
Maria Teresa Rivera’s recent release from prison was a major victory for women’s rights in El Salvador. Nonetheless, the nation’s Attorney General has said he intends to appeal the decision overturning her conviction. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“Isabel and “Ruth” (not their real name) are the mother in law and neighbor of María Teresa Rivera, one of “Las 17” women who are imprisoned in El Salvador with charges of “aggravated homicides” under the suspicion of having had an abortion.
“Today, we celebrate Teresa’s freedom, her joy, and her tears upon reuniting with her ten-year-old son. This is the result of the actions in solidarity taken by thousands of people and various organizations in El Salvador and other countries.”
–The Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador
On Friday, May 20, a Salvadoran Court held a resentencing hearing for Maria Teresa Rivera, a woman who was serving a 40-year prison term for allegedly killing her newborn child. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Katie Bellamy Mitchell, Identity and Discrimination Unit Intern
This February 14th, I’ll spend Valentine’s Day with people I love. And when I say I love them — my friends and family — I mean I value them. I mean I have decided my life is better when they are a part of it. It’s easy to take for granted, yet people around the world are denied the right to decide the people they share their lives with—even denied the right to make decisions over their own bodies. They are forced to accept others’ decisions about their healthcare, their sexual orientation, and whether they get married or have children.
To live, love, and make decisions free from coercion and threat of violence is a human right. Love is a decision that always means respect: for my body, for my rights, and for the bodies and rights of others.
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Portrait of Teodora Vasquez at her prison in El Salvador. She had been sentenced for 30 years after having an stillbirth out of suspicions of having had an abortion.
By Linda Veazey, AIUSA Board Member
In 1998, El Salvador outlawed abortion under any circumstances, including cases where the life or health of the woman is at risk; where pregnancies are the result of rape or incest; and in cases of severe fetal abnormalities. El Salvador’s total ban violates the human rights of thousands of women and girls.
In cases like Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, some women have even been sentenced to several decades in prison even though they did not have an abortion! In 2008, Teodora was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “aggravated homicide” after suffering a still-birth at work. Amnesty found that Teodora was presumed guilty after she received an unfair trial in which her family could not afford effective legal representation. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, one of 12 cases in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign this fall, has been in prison since 2008 because she suffered a still-birth.
Teodora still has 23 more years to serve out of a 30-year prison sentence, which is supported by El Salvador’s draconian abortion law. El Salvador has a total ban on abortion, meaning that abortion is illegal even if a woman’s or girl’s life or health is at risk, if the fetus is not viable, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
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Ireland, El Salvador, and Chile share a deplorable commonality — the governments of all three countries have enacted draconian and harmful abortion laws that put women’s and girls’ lives at risk. Today, on September 28th, the Global Day of Action to Decriminalize Abortion, we join with people and organizations around the world to demand an end to these dangerous laws. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Leah Schmidt, Identity and Discrimination Unit, Amnesty International USA
In July 2013, an 11-year-old girl became pregnant after having been raped repeatedly for two years by her stepfather. However, ending the pregnancy was not an option for her. In Chile, where she lives, abortion is outlawed in all cases, even in cases of rape and even for children. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Thanks to everyone who took part in the very urgent social media action to free Guadalupe!
Guadalupe is one of 17 Salvadoran women who were sentenced to 12 to 40 years in prison after suffering miscarriages. The only legal option left for these women is a pardon. Last week, the Salvadoran National Assembly failed to approve a pardon for Guadalupe by just one vote. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Women during a march to commemorate UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (Photo: ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
Until now, the Dominican Republic was one of the few nations with a complete ban on abortion. The law did not allow exceptions for the health and safety of the woman; rape or incest; or severe fetal abnormality. That changed on December 19, when President Danilo Medina put into effect a new Criminal Code that allows abortions under the above-mentioned circumstances.
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