A high school student from El Salvador has suffered the unimaginable heartbreak of being raped and having a stillborn baby, and is now facing jail time.
When she was 18, Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was repeatedly raped by a gang member during a forced sexual relationship, The Guardian reports.
Evelyn did not realise she was pregnant, but during her third trimester gave birth in a toilet in April 2016. Authorities could not determine if the girl’s baby had died in utero or after delivery.
As Time reports, abortion is illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador and Evelyn was subsequently charged with “aggravated homicide” after the stillbirth. A female judge accepted the theory that the young girl had not sought prenatal care because she did not want to keep the baby, thus amounting to homicide.
Evelyn, now 19, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, but her lawyer will appeal the verdict.
The girl's lawyer, Dennis Munoz, said the decision was based on morality.
“The judge’s verdict doesn’t reflect the evidence presented in court. It’s a decision based on morality, not the law or justice,” he said, The Guardian reports.
Amnesty International has called for the country to urgently overturn its archaic anti-abortion laws.
"El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families," Amnesty's Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas said in a statement.