Abortion retrial for Evelyn Hernandez begins again in El Salvador

Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez, now 21, appeared in the Ciudad Delgado courtroom on Thursday, after being accused of inducing an abortion and convicted of aggravated murder when she was a teenager. "I've told you all I'm innocent. My goal is to keep studying. I ask the prosecutors to be conscious of this," Hernandez said Thursday. "I am innocent. I know he will be fair and, with the grace of God, everything will be okay. I'm innocent," she said. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges.Hernandez previously said she didn't know she was pregnant. "Had I known I was pregnant, I would have awaited the baby with pride and joy," she told reporters outside the courthouse last month. Both she and her defense team have said that her pregnancy was the result of a rape.In April 2016, Hernandez was rushed to a local emergency room in her hometown of El Carmen, roughly 40 kilometers east of the capital, by her mother and a neighbor. She had been found on the floor of her bathroom drenched in blood and she was diagnosed with hypovolemic shock.Doctors who examined her saw signs of a delivery, but no baby. They reported her to the authorities, her defense team told CNN. When local officials arrived at her home five hours later, they found the newborn dead in a septic tank.A year later, Hernandez was put on trial and convicted to 30 years in prison for killing the child. Prosecutors at the time claimed she had induced an abortion and left the baby for dead.

Abortion illegal under any circumstance

Abortion is illegal in El Salvador under any circumstance, including when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother or in cases of rape. Depending on the charge, Salvadoran women who are suspected of having an abortion or an induced miscarriage can face serious charges including aggravated homicide, with sentences ranging from two years in prison to up to 50 years, according to Amnesty International.Hernandez's will be the first abortion case to be tried since Nayib Bukele became president in June. During a campaign event last October at a local university in San Salvador, Bukele said he was anti-abortion but that he didn't agree with convicting poor women who suffer miscarriages.The unintended consequences of US global abortion policy"If a poor woman suffers a miscarriage, she's immediately suspected of having had an abortion," Bukele said. "That's where the issue of social inequality comes into play." He has not made any statements regarding Hernandez's case.Most of the women who have faced criminal charges for abortions in El Salvador come from poor rural backgrounds, and many suffered miscarriages or had obstetric complications because they weren't able to get regular check-ups due to lack of resources, according to Morena Herrera, one of the leaders of the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador.She and her organization have been at the forefront of pushing for reform to the country's abortion bill. "We want Evelyn to go free," Herrera told CNN. "But we know the realities of what the prosecution is asking for and know that, if convicted, she could face 30-50 years in prison."In 2017, Read More – Source

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