CNA Staff, Jun 5, 2020 / 11:35 am
Pro-life leaders in El Salvador say a recent CBS News report on abortion in the country is misleading, and does not accurately portray factual narratives, amid a fight over the legalization of abortion in the country.
A CBS documentary “Jailed for Abortion in El Salvador” and an accompanying print report, were published online May 28. Pro-life advocates in the country say the report leaves out or misrepresents crucial information regarding landmark fights over abortion in the country.
The CBS report claimed that “more than 140 women have been charged under El Salvador's total ban on abortion since 1998, incarcerated for up to 35 years in some of the world's most notorious prisons. Many say they never had an abortion, but instead claim that after suffering a miscarriage they were wrongfully convicted when their doctors accused them of intentionally terminating their pregnancies.”
Alabama state Representative Merika Coleman visited last November a prison in El Salvador where some of those women are incarcerated. She told CBS News that if Roe vs. Wade is overturned “things that are going on in El Salvador could actually happen in the United States,"
The report mentioned the case of “Manuela,” whose real name is María Edis Hernández de Castra, a woman who according to CBS, claimed to have had a miscarriage and “was charged and convicted for aggravated homicide, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.”
Hernández served two years of her sentence before she died from Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010.
“But a lawsuit brought on behalf of Manuela's family after her death may bring change. Next year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is expected to hear her case, and if the international body sides with Manuela and her family, El Salvador could be barred from prosecuting women who say they miscarried, according to an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, the law firm representing the family,” CBS reported.
El Salvadoran pro-life organizations say that the case of Hernández, or Manuela, is one of numerous cases in El Salvador in which acts of infanctide have been reported as miscarriages, and used in litigation intended to promote the legalization of abortion.