Release Guadalupe and the rest of Las17!

El Salvador should immediately release women imprisoned due to obstetric complications

January 16, 2015

Today El Salvador Parliament is set to vote whether to issue a pardon for Guadalupe, one of the 17 cases of  women who were imprisoned for pregnancy complications.  El Salvador has one of the most draconian laws when it comes to punishing women on suspicion of abortion, which is banned in all cases even when a woman’s life is in danger. Women who experience obstetric complications are put into prison without a due process and fair trial.

Guadalupe was 18 when she was jailed in 2007 after suffering a miscarriage. Her pregnancy was a result of rape  and due to the ensuing trauma she was not able to recognize the signs of pregnancy. When the obstetric problems occurred that caused an early delivery, she was in the house of her employees, where she worked as a domestic helper. She was transferred to the National Hospital of San Bartolo where the medical staff denounced her for undergoing an abortion.

She was interrogated without legal assistance while hospitalized and during the trial no direct evidence was presented as a proof of induced abortion; an autopsy established conclusively that the cause of death was undetermined, presenting no external or internal evidence of trauma was performed. However , based on speculation  Guadalupe  was sentenced to 30 years in prison. She is now 23 years old and she has spent more than 6 years in prison since 2007.

Guadalupe is one of the Las 17, seventeen Salvadoran women serving terms of between 12 and 40 years in prison for pregnancy related complications. Women are mercilessly thrown into prison away from their families and other born children who are left motherless through their childhood. The prosecutions and trials are flawed with prejudice, unsound evidence and lack of effective defense system which together create a hostile environment against women’s sexual and reproductive rights. In many cases, women are initially charged with abortion and subsequently with aggravated murder, which carried much longer prison terms.

Today, WGNRR stands in solidarity with the Las 17 and the Citizenship Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador who filed the petition to pardon Guadalupe in April 2014.

Today, we call on El Salvador Parliament to vote in favor of women in El Salvador. We urge the Parliament to pardon Guadalupe and to take steps to repair the injustice done against the 17 women by dropping all charges against them. El Salvador government should make an effort to stop this violence against women and girls that is currently consecrated int the oppressive ban on abortion by revising the law and releasing unjustly condemned victims.


Join local women’s rights activist at the manifestation in from of the Legislative Assembly on Friday, January 16 at 3 pm.

See the flyer 

See the press release