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Women’s Rights Group Demand Release of Argentine Woman Imprisoned for Abortion

by Reshma Anand on April 27, 2016 at 6:04 PM
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Women’s Rights Group Demand Release of Argentine Woman Imprisoned for Abortion

An Argentine woman who was sentenced to eight years in jail for aborting her baby creates fury among women's and abortion rights groups. They will march on April 28th demanding her release.

The woman, 27, called Belen in press accounts, has become a symbol of the lamentable state of women's rights in Argentina, where abortion is legal only in cases of rape or if the mother's life is in danger.

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Belen had been jailed for two years following the miscarriage in 2014 in the northern province of Tucuman.

Last week, she was sentenced to an eight-year jail term for "homicide aggravated by betrayal and the bond."

The woman, whose real name was not disclosed, was admitted to a hospital in her home province in March 2014 complaining of stomach cramps. She claimed after the fact that said she did not know at the time that she was pregnant.
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The hospital gave her a sedative, and then sent her to the obstetric unit where officials accused her of carrying out an illegal abortion on herself.

A doctor told her, she said, that she was miscarrying at five months pregnant.

"Then a male nurse brought me the fetus in a little box, and insulted me. I told him that was not mine, and he said 'look here, this is your child,'" Belen told the court.

She was taken from the hospital straight to jail to await trial.

Rights groups say that the woman's rights have been violated.

"After being sentenced arbitrarily, and with no crime proven, we demand the immediate release of Belen who has been in jail since 2014," said Raquel Vivanco, director of rights organization MuMala.

Center-left lawmaker Victoria Donda said the woman had been subjected to degrading treatment.

"Back alley abortions are the number one cause of death of mothers in Argentina. This is something that happens at all income levels, but poorer women are paying with their lives," Donda said.

About 100 women die every year in Argentina, where an estimated 500,000 abortions are carried out annually, NGOs say.

Source: AFP
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