First You Get Raped, Then You Get Arrested.

Abortion is treated and viewed differently depending on the country and state. El Salvador has been one of the nations that has made abortions illegal and that under no circumstances can women get abortions. If the women do get abortions they will be convicted and sentenced to up to 50 years in jail. It is horrible how they will not let women make their own choices about their body. Perhaps most disturbing is how women can be imprisoned for having miscarriages since there is no way of telling between a miscarriage and an abortion. By exposing how these women fight everyday in order to get their basic human rights, I hope to encourage you to help them. We have the power to make an impact in these women’s lives.

Women all over El Salvador are fighting to protect the “health and freedom” that they deserve because of the many anti-abortion laws. Rossalyn Warren of CNN talks about some moments where women are being affected by these laws. Warren reports a study made by “Citizens for the Discrimination of Abortion” showing that, “at least 129 women were prosecuted under El Salvador’s stringent anti-abortion laws between 2000 and 2011.” She also states how “at least 13 women remain in prison, convicted of aggravated homicide over the death of their babies.” To me, these statistics are just appalling because they show how intense these laws are. We are able to see how many women are being negatively impacted and how much they are suffering. These women are not able to make their own choices about their bodies or else they will be convicted and can do an extensive amount of years in jail. The laws are placed as El Salvador considers itself pro-life. Warren brings up a shocking thought. She says, “If a teenage girl is raped and tries to terminate her pregnancy, she could face decades in jail. But her rapist, if convicted, would only face six to ten years’ imprisonment.” This is just another example of how crazy the authorities and the government handles abortions in El Salvador. The rapist will do less time than the women who simply wanted to get an abortion because she was raped. They care more about the fact that they aborted a child, than the fact that they were raped. I do not understand how they will give less time to a rapist that a women who simply made a choice about her body. These women can do up to 50 years, for something they should be able to do freely.

Sí a la Vida is a foundation that is one of the biggest contributors to the anti-abortion ban in El Salvador. They are also funded by Human Life International which is a U.S. non-profit organization. In an article written by Christina Cauterucci, she states how “Human Life International gave Sí a la Vida $47,360; between 2008 and 2014.” Their article, “Exceptions: Is Abortion Ever Permissible” argues against abortion even in cases of rape:

More violence is not the proper response to rape or incest: We might examine two newborn babies lying side by side — one conceived within a loving marriage and one conceived as the result of a brutal rape — and then ask which should be considered more human and therefore worthy of life. Rape is appalling, but abortion simply inflicts another level of violence on the innocent child conceived by the act and further psychologically harms the woman who was the victim of the rape or incest.

In my opinion rape is a far worse act of “violence” because they are being harmed in ways that will affect their life forever. Abortion is not inflicting any sort of violence, it is simply giving women the ability to practice their well deserved rights. I don’t truly understand why Human Life International would give so much money to a foundation who doesn’t let women make their own choices. To a foundation who thinks it’s better to sentence women to many many years, rather than giving them a safe way of aborting their fetus. Human Life International also “supported Uganda’s far-reaching criminalization of gay people.” They have repeatedly supported ideas and organizations that deny people basic human rights, as well as being treated fairly.

Luis Enrique Contreras Reyes writes an article on where he explains why “El Salvador is pro-life” and what they believe in. In the article it claims, “If there is no human life, why talk about rights? What is the point of promoting human rights if we do not allow a certain group of people to be born?” The biggest point that I took out from his statement was that there is human life. The women are the “human life”, they are the ones humans living in this country. The women who suffer and struggle are the “human life” that should be given basic rights. Also, in my opinion politicians and the government in El Salvador have many reasons to be promoting and enhancing human rights because they already have people in the country, they already have people to care for. Instead of bashing and convicting women for making a choice, they should worry about the women’s health and well-being. They should worry about the women who do illegal abortions that can end their life, rather than being so worried about their choices. Even when the women are having a miscarriage, they are still convicted and bashed. So if all these politicians and Si a la Vida are all about being “pro-life”, why aren’t they pro-life when it comes to the women’s lives being in danger too?

Although the anti-abortion laws don’t necessarily affect most of us, it does not mean we can’t support all the women being affected in El Salvador. We can still stand by and help the women. We can help them fight for their basic rights, for the rights to make their own choices about their own bodies. There are organizations were we can contribute to by donating money. Organizations such as Actionaid, and ORMUSA. Something as simple as spreading the word and letting more people know of what is happening can help.

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