She was sentenced to 30 years for abortion in El Salvador — and is now free

Evelyn Hernandez during court proceedings. Source: Catholics for Choice
Evelyn Hernandez during court proceedings. Source: Catholics for Choice

Evelyn Hernandez, who at age 18 was sentenced to 30 years in prison in El Salvador for homicide after miscarrying, has been released after serving 33 months in jail.

Under El Salvador’s draconian anti-abortion laws, the court found that the miscarriage was actually an intentional abortion and an attempt to hide the evidence.

Yet a tenacious legal defense, with international support, managed to force the court to reverse its decision.

Though she is grateful to be free and resume her life, interrupted as a teen in 2017, she says that the fight is just beginning for the release of at least 19 other unfairly imprisoned Salvadoran women serving terms up to 35 years for abortion.

While the new president, Nayib Bukele, is touted as a potential reformer, it is unclear whether the new administration will be able to prevail in the face of apparent Congressional disinterest in even bringing the topic up for discussion.

What’s more, the Attorney General of El Salvador is appealing her acquittal.

One of Henandez’s lawyers told Buzzfeed News that the government of El Salvador is “spending the state’s resources unnecessarily … We expected this persecution against Evelyn to stop.”

Buzzfeed also reported that the pregnancy was a result of rape, and that Hernandez’s alleged rapist has never been prosecuted.

Source: BBC News, Buzzfeed News

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