El Salvador has some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world. Abortion is completely criminalized even in cases of rape or when a woman’s life in endangered. More than 20 girls and women are currently in jail serving decades-long penalties, despite suffering miscarriages and stillbirth. The majority of those charged under the ban are young, with limited education, and from poor, rural communities. These unjust arrests and convictions take place within a broader context of violations against women’s rights: It is estimated that two-thirds of Salvadoran women experience violence and that once a day, a woman or girl is murdered because of her gender.
Improving sexual and reproductive rights in El Salvador is a critical part of activists’ holistic approach aimed at advancing women’s rights. Yet, speaking out regarding any human rights abuses can elicit harassment and physical threats.
Fund-backed groups in El Salvador are raising awareness about the critical need for reproductive rights reform, amplifying women’s voices and leadership, and providing legal and psychosocial support to girls and women who have been wrongly imprisoned.
This project is generously underwritten by a grant from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).