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Argentine women who support decriminalizing abortion sit outside Congress, where lawmakers were debating the issue, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 9, 2018 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Abortion Rights Activists Have Made Strides in Latin America. Is a Backlash Coming?

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019

USULUTAN, El Salvador—Imelda Cortez, a 20-year-old Salvadoran woman, was at home one evening in April 2017 when, seemingly out of nowhere, she began experiencing sharp abdominal pain. Suspecting a flare-up of her colitis, she went into the bathroom, where, to her astonishment, she gave birth to a baby girl. She would later say that she hadn’t even known she was pregnant.

Her mother called for help, and Cortez was rushed to the hospital. Doctors found no signs of induced labor or any other indications that Cortez intended to harm her child. Nevertheless, one of the doctors accused her of trying to have an abortion and reported the case to the police. Abortion is illegal in El Salvador, and Cortez was arrested and eventually charged with attempted murder. The charge carries a possible sentence of 20 years in prison. ...

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