A 21-year-old woman in El Salvador has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated homicide after authorities claimed she killed her baby girl after giving birth.
Lesly Ramírez was home the night of June 17, 2020, when she felt the instant urge to go the bathroom, according to Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, a feminist non-governmental organization that defended the woman.
Ramírez, who was 19 years old and claims she was five months pregnant at the time, recalled how ‘something (came) out of her as she unexpectedly delivered the unborn child.
Morena Herrera, head of the NGO, told Reuters that Ramírez had tried to cut the umbilical cord herself after the miscarriage, but it was dark and her home had no electricity.
She was taken to San Juan de Dios Hospital in the western department of San Miguel for treatment and a week later was placed in pre-trial detention during a court hearing she was unable to attend because of her ailing health.
Salvadoran authorities, however, argued that Ramírez carried her baby to near-full term and that after having the baby, she stabbed it in the neck six times.
‘It is not the first time that the prosecution has constructed a story that totally criminalizes women,’ Herrera said.
Ramírez was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated homicide last week
The Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion plans to appeal the court’s verdict, which it described as being one-sided.
‘The legal process against Lesly was full of irregularities and prejudices, in that sense the defense requested to annul the investigation stage because the judge did not admit the incorporation of evidence that demonstrated his innocence, for example, he did not value the social medicine expert opinion evidence of the gender violence to which she had been subjected,’ Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion said in a statement.
According to several reports, El Salvador, has some of the world’s harshest anti-abortion laws, which ban all kinds of terminations even if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s life or results from rape or incest.