Call on El Salvador to end the total ban on abortion



Women and girls are dying or going to prison due to the total ban on abortion.  



Many women and girls are dying or being imprisoned as a result of El Salvador's total ban on abortion. Women who miscarry have been accused of homicide and even rape victims are denied a termination.

For the first time since 1998 there’s a chance to overturn the archaic law causing unnecessary pain and suffering for thousands of women and children.

Salvadoran lawmakers will soon debate changes to this law. At this crucial moment, call on them to support the reformed laws that will respect, protect and fulfil the rights of women and girls.


On 5 July teenager Evelyn Beatriz Hernández Cruz was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Her crime? Suffering sexual assault and a miscarriage.

According to local reports Evelyn Hernández did not report her rape out of fear for the consequences. On 6 April 2016, she was admitted to a hospital in Cojutepeque, in the north of El Salvador, after having fainted at home. She had gone into labour without realising she was pregnant. The hospital staff reported her to the authorities and she was charged with ‘aggravated homicide’ shortly after.

This young girl is just one of thousands denied their rights by El Salvador’s blanket ban on abortion. This law is totally indiscriminate. No matter what age, or what circumstances: whether the result of rape, incest, or where there’s potential harm to the mother. Even when a woman miscarries she can be charged with aggravated homicide, facing up to 40 years in jail.


To:  Mr. Mario Alberto Tenorio, Presidente de la Comisión de Legislación y Puntos Constitucionales 

Dear Mr. President,

Every year, thousands of women and girls are denied their human rights by El Salvador’s total ban on abortion.

The effects of the ban are nothing less than institutionalized violence against women and girls, and can amount to torture and other forms of ill-treatment – as concluded by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

The Salvadoran government is ultimately responsible for the resulting deaths of women and girls, and for the thousands whose human rights have been violated by the ban.

I stand with Amnesty International and its more than 3 million members, supporters and activists in demanding an end to this injustice.

Specifically, I urge you to:

• Decriminalize abortion: eliminate all punitive measures for women and girls seeking an abortion, as well as for the health care providers and others who help them to have one.

• Immediately and unconditionally release all women and girls who have been imprisoned for having abortions or miscarriages. This includes those convicted of abortion, homicide and aggravated homicide.

• Ensure access to safe and legal abortion for all women and girls. As a minimum, ensure access in cases of rape or incest, where the woman’s health or life is at risk, and where the foetus is unlikely to survive.

• Guarantee access to modern contraceptive information and services, and provide comprehensive sexuality education.

Yours sincerely,