Monday, May 23, 2016

El Salvador Releases Maria Teresa Rivera; Indiana Court to Decide Fate of Purvi Patel

On Friday, El Salvador released Maria Teresa Rivera, a 33-year old woman who was serving a 40 year prison sentence for aggravated homicide following a miscarriage. Hospital staff accused Rivera of having an abortion when she was brought to the hospital for treatment of complications and heavy bleeding that left her unconscious. Rivera is one of Las 17, a group of women who received sentences of 40 years or more in El Salvador, following miscarriages that were often prosecuted as homicides. A global human rights campaign seeks to have their cases reconsidered or pardoned and El Salvador’s laws banning abortion in all circumstances repealed. Maria Teresa’s release followed a judge’s ruling that there had been insufficient evidence to prove the charges against her.

The situation in El Salvador illustrates the danger of allowing women to be prosecuted for abortions and poor birth outcomes. Although abortion is legal in the U.S., some women have been prosecuted for losing a pregnancy or abortion.  Today (Monday, May 23, 2016) at 2 pm EST, the Indiana Court of Appeals will hear argument in Purvi Patel’s appeal of her conviction for feticide and child neglect. Patel was convicted based on the prosecution’s claim that she self-induced an abortion with drugs obtained over the internet. The argument will be available on livestream.

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