Sara Rogel was arrested in October 2012 after being hospitalized with bleeding injuries caused by a fall while doing household chores. The then 22-year-old student Rogel was prosecuted and convicted for killing her unborn daughter.
“Sara never deserved to be in prison,” said feminist activist Morena Herrera. “Sara should have been with her family while mourning the heartbreaking loss of her pregnancy. Instead, she was wrongly imprisoned for nine years.”
Her release from a prison in Zacatecoluca, 35 miles southeast of the capital, San Salvador, was originally ordered a week ago, but Rogel was held until the Attorney General’s Office had a deadline to appeal her release.
El Salvador has one of the strictest abortion bans in the world. It does not allow any exceptions, not even in the case of rape or if the mother’s life is in danger, and prison sentences can be up to 40 years.
Yet women are often prosecuted for stillbirths and abortions for medical emergencies.
There are more than 17 women “still wrongly detained after obstetric emergencies,” the director of the Women’s Equality Center, Paula Avila-Guillen, said in a statement. “Each of these cases shows the insidious consequences of the absolute criminalization of abortion, resulting in a state that persecutes and imprisons women when they need access to health and protection most urgently.”