ACT NOW: Free El Salvador’s Las 17
Dear Peoples Bark Reader,
Today in El Salvador, a group of women sits behind bars, isolated from friends and family. They’re not criminals.
They’re called “Las 17,” or “The 17,” a group of women locked away under El Salvador’s extreme total abortion ban. It’s one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world: a woman can be arrested for having an abortion even when it will save her life or health, or in cases of rape or incest.
And there’s more: a woman who’s miscarried or had other complications with her pregnancy -– a woman experiencing a health emergency -– can be charged with aggravated homicide and thrown in prison for decades.
That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: international pressure is building on El Salvador to release these women and repeal its dangerous abortion law. You can help -– send a message to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry right now and ask him to add his voice to those calling on El Salvador to free these women and abolish their backwards abortion ban.
El Salvador is starting to feel the mounting pressure. Canada, France, and Sweden have all added their support to a growing chorus of international actors calling on the country for change. And it’s working. Just last month the Salvadoran Congress voted to pardon one of Las 17. After serving seven years of her 30-year sentence, she’ll soon see freedom. Guadalupe is just the second of the 17 women to be released and the only one to win a pardon.
It’s promising news and a step in the right direction, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that 15 women remain in Salvadoran jail cells.
As experts from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recently said: the decision to pardon one of Las 17 “must mark a turning point” for Las 17 and El Salvador’s draconian abortion law.
With continued pressure, we know that turning point is possible. It takes just a moment to send your message and help keep the heat on the Salvadoran government. Tell Sec. Kerry: use your influence to insist that El Salvador free Las 17 and end the criminalization of abortion.
Thanks for adding your voice today -– with thousands of us standing together, we can create the pressure needed to move the Salvadoran government to action.
International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
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The struggle continues, as expected!
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