Health

Woman Spends Four Years In Jail For Miscarriage (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Maria Teresa RiveraMaria Teresa Rivera

Maria Teresa Rivera served four years of a 40-year prison sentence in El Salvador after she had a miscarriage. However, she may soon be headed back to prison (video below).

The 28-year-old wasn't aware that she was pregnant when she went into premature labor in 2011, reports Mother Jones.

Abortion is illegal in all cases in El Salvador, but Rivera was locked up for the result of her miscarriage. She was later convicted of aggravated homicide against her dead baby in 2012, reports Rewire.

Rivera told Una flor por Las 17, an advocacy group, during an interview in jail in 2014:

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

What happened to me was that I felt the need to go to the bathroom. I pushed, and it was the baby that came out into the latrine. When I looked for help, to ask someone to help me no one was around because they were all sleeping. It was in the early morning, and they were asleep. I remember they said, "Call the police. Call the police."

When I regained consciousness, I was in the hospital, the First of May Public Hospital and they asked me where the baby was and I said, "What baby?" They said, "You had a baby. Where did you have it?" I told them that I just felt the urge to go to the bathroom.

I felt that something had come out, and it was the baby that came out in the bathroom. Then they brought me to this place, accused of homicide against my son.

Rivera's conviction was overturned on May 20; she was freed and reunited with her 11-year-old son.

However, the prosecutor appealed the ruling. A panel of judges is expected to rule this week if there will be a new hearing on the case or if the charges will be permanently dismissed.

"I just don’t understand the prosecutor’s motivation for this appeal," Rivera told Rewire. "We are very poor, and there is no one else but me to provide income for our family."

Victor Hugo Mata, Rivera’s lawyer, said that the El Salvadorian government often requires "preventive imprisonment" of people when they are going through a trial process; that imprisonment can begin immediately if the panel approves the prosecutor's appeal.

Sources: Mother Jones, Rewire, Una flor por Las 17/YouTube / Photo credit: Una flor por Las 17/YouTube

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