By, Grace Anderson, Identity and Discrimination Program Intern, Amnesty International USA
You helped bring about a victory for women’s rights!
This Monday, March 27th, the Supreme Court of the Province of Tucuman, northern Argentina, unanimously decided to acquit Belén, the 27-year-old young woman who was sentenced to 8 years in prison after suffering a miscarriage in a public hospital.
Belén spent over two years in detention awaiting trial and then sentencing; she had suffered a miscarriage, but because of Argentina’s partial abortion ban, she was convicted of murder — now she will walk free.
Last year, we detailed Belén’s case, how after suffering from abdominal pain, Belén went to her local hospital where she started bleeding heavily and was informed she was having a miscarriage after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Belén didn’t even know she was pregnant. After surgery, she woke up surrounded by police officers who were examining her genitals, she was accused of having a self-induced abortion, and she was then convicted of murder.
So you took action — we delivered over 120,000 of your signatures to authorities in Tucuman. You demanded that miscarriage not be criminalized, and that authorities and health care professionals be held accountable for the ill treatment and violation of privacy of women who suffer miscarriages in Argentina.
This victory saved Belén, but abortion bans worldwide continue to threaten the autonomy and lives of women daily.
Belén’s case shows us that abortion restrictions not only threaten the lives and welfare of women, but their freedom as well. Abortion restrictions put women’s lives at stake by threating their health, their right to privacy, and their very lives.
Today is a day for celebration for Belén — and a day to recommit ourselves to continue to work on behalf of all those whose rights are violated and lives threatened by abortion restrictions.