Women’s Equality Day – A Moment to Celebrate in El Salvador

On the road to gender equality we have to celebrate our successes amidst the ongoing challenges. This Women’s Equality Day we’d like to highlight one such success from our partner in El Salvador that gives us hope and inspires us to continue the fight for justice.

Evelyn Hernandez immediately following her acquittal in court,
El Salvador, August 19, 2019.

Oscar Rivera/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In a resounding victory for women’s reproductive rights in El Salvador, 21 year-old Evelyn Hernandez was acquitted of murder on August 19, 2019. Hernández had become pregnant as a result of rape and had suffered a still-birth in April 2016.  She was then accused of induced abortion and aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison. She was released in February 2019 after serving 33 months, but the Supreme Court had called for a complete retrial in her case, which resulted in her acquittal.

Under El Salvador’s draconian anti-choice law, abortion is illegal in all circumstances including rape and when the health of the mother is in danger. Women are often wrongly prosecuted for murder when they suffer obstetric emergencies like miscarriages and still-births. Dozens of women like Evelyn continue to languish in prison under these unjust circumstances. They need to be released, and the law in El Salvador needs to be amended.

Donor Direct Action’s partner in El Salvador, Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas por la Paz (ORMUSA), is a member of the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion that is working to change the law and demand the release of women imprisoned for miscarriage and abortion.

Please consider supporting ORMUSA in this critical work!  And this Women’s Equality Day let’s celebrate our collective achievements and recommit to work together in the coming year to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women around the world.


Jessica Neuwirth

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