Women Jailed For Homicide After Having Abortions

This is what happens when abortion is criminalized: the Latin American Herald Tribute reports that six women in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato are serving prison sentences of 25-30 years after being convicted of homicide for terminating their pregnancies.  The women have served between three and eight years of their prison sentences, and activists are now working on their behalf to put in direct appeals to the federal judiciary.

Despite being largely illegal, Mexico’s abortion rate is 40% higher than the United States’.  In some states, abortion is permissible, while in others, like Guanajuato, it is a criminal offense, even in cases of rape.  Recently, a woman serving a similar prison sentence was released after intercession by Centro Las Libres, an organization that provides assistance to the 160 women who are currently facing abortion-related charges.  Of the seven cases, said Veronica Cruz, the organization’s director, one abortion was spontaneous, two others were undertaken because of rape, and the others were the result of accidental pregnancies.

Guanajuato, which has, incidentally, the highest teen pregnancy rate in Mexico, refuses to teach sex education in its schools.  It is also the only state in the country that refused to promulgate a federally-mandated law about gender violence.  The province is thus lucky to have an organization like Centro Las Libres, although clearly, there should be no need for activist work on cases like these, which reflect a disregard for women’s well-being and independence.  The Guttmacher Institute noted, in a 2009 report on Mexico’s high incidence of abortion, that the abortions that women do access are extremely unsafe – 17% of women who had an abortion in 2006 were treated in public hospitals for complications, compared to 0.3% of women in the U.S.

“The contrast between U.S. and Mexican abortion rates reflects a larger disparity in awareness of contraceptive methods and access to family planning services,” explained Fatima Juarez, a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute.  “The best way to make abortion less necessary is to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place by increasing access to a wide range of contraceptive methods.”

And, obviously, jailing women for homicide once they have abortions is not going to encourage others to obtain safer procedures, or even to go to the hospital if they do have complications.

Photo from Flickr.

292 comments

Jewels S.
Jewels S6 years ago

Do not try and shove your opinions down others throats. I am pro choice and proud of it. You can judge all the way to you meet your maker but my maker God and I can handle things without any help from those that like to judge others. Shame on these people. Where are the fathers of said potential children? Did they have to answer to why they got these women pregnant? That is what I thought, no.

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Shalvah L.
Past Member 6 years ago

This is really shocking! I would not expect to hear about women being jailed for having an abortion, somtimes with great risk to their lives. This sounds more like something that happens in an Islamic foundamentalist country!

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Josie Eldred
Josie Eldred6 years ago

This is so, so sick. There are rapists and murderers in the world who have been sentenced to less time. There is something very wrong with our justice system. I feel disgusted.

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pam w.
pam w6 years ago

What you have at conception is the POTENTIAL which may (or may not) develop into a baby. IF your statistics are correct (48% past the second trimester seems high to me) then we have to consider why someone would choose to terminate at that point. There are many valid reasons--and none of them are your business, or mine.

Abortion is between a woman and her physician.

Some tumors respond to stimulus and brain waves do NOT indicate self- or even pain- awareness.

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Taylor M.
Taylor M6 years ago

Correction: The last comment was for Pam W., not Pam M., sorry.

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Taylor M.
Taylor M6 years ago

Here are some facts for Pam M.
48 percent of abortions are performed after the 9th week of the pregnancy. Brain waves have been recorded as early as 40 days. The heart is beating by week 4, and the baby can express emotion (such as smiling) by week 11. Week 9 is when you are able to tell if the baby is a boy or girl. Every organ is present by week 8. Hands and eyelids open and close by week 9. By week 12, the baby is able to swallow and feels and responds to skin simulation.
I hope those facts satisfy you. Granted, I don't think that imprisoning those women was the greatest idea, but Guanajuato was definitely right when they classified abortion as homocide. You can believe what you want, but life DOES begin at conception. As any doctor.

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pam w.
pam w6 years ago

"Check the facts?" WHAT "facts?" It's not a "child!" It's no more a "child" than 15 cells are a cancerous tumor. It has no sensation of pain, no self-awareness, no "mind" and no capability to live on its own.

Using words and phrases designed to inflame emotions don't make them true.

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david w.
david weitendorf6 years ago

Birth control is everyone's right but if you create a life you are responsible for that life it is defenseless with out you.
for you to turn around and kill that child that is murder.
you can't hide behind words like terminated or aborted.
tell the truth that the poor child was ripped out of the womb and murdered do you know what they do with the body. you don't care it's a procedure it all clean and clinical so the murder is ok then right! and no the world is not over populated. just mismanaged since the entire world population could fit comfortably in Australia. Check the facts.

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Catherine T.
Cat T6 years ago

With the world population spiralling out of control, abortion and birth-control should be our top priority.

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Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat6 years ago

thanks.

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