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Since the campaign has started, three women have been released or pardoned, but another dozen have been incarcerated on similar charges.Maria Teresa says the incarcerated women have formed a strong sisterhood in El Salvador’s dangerously overcrowded women’s prison, which is reportedly overpopulated by 900%.
She tried to stumble back to her bed, but collapsed on the way.“It was such a feeling of happiness that I couldn’t even believe it,” Maria Teresa told me when I asked her about the day of her release.“To hug my son again after four and a half years…It was the happiest feeling that I could have felt, something I will never forget.” Tragically, that happy moment could be short-lived.El Salvador’s Attorney General, in an act of mustache-twisting nastiness, is now challenging the judge’s decision to release María Teresa a month after she was granted freedom.The government’s top prosecutor claims the judge did not use If the Attorney General’s appeal is upheld, María Teresa could be rearrested next week and sent back to jail for the same crime she was already absolved of. Maria Teresa’s only “crime” was failing to have a successful pregnancy in a land where has been codified into law.On an early November morning in 2011, María Teresa Rivera awoke with a twinge in her stomach and hastened through the pre-dawn light to the outhouse behind her home.
She hadn’t been feeling well, but didn’t realize she was pregnant.
Now the country with the highest murder rate in the world is treating this single mother as if she were public enemy No.
1—a threat that needs to be removed from society and put behind bars for the rest of her life.
A total of 38 states have fetal homicide laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although Indiana is apparently the only state that’s actually sentenced a woman to jail time for feticide.
But when it comes to punishing pregnant women, no other country is as determinedly misogynistic as little El Salvador.
“We spent a lot of time together, and we talked about our cases. We were all in there for the same reason, 25 women at least.