Argentina imprisons woman for getting an abortion, along with the friends who helped her

In Argentina, three women have been incarcerated. One for having an abortion, two for accompanying her to get the procedure.

Susana D, as she’s referred to in the press, went to the hospital in June because of severe abdominal pain. It turned out she had sepsis, a blood infection, and was in intensive care for weeks. Her doctor suspected that the sepsis had been caused by an abortion, which is illegal in Argentina, except for in cases of rape, incest or when the health or life of the pregnant person is at risk. The doctor reported her to the police, who arrested and incarcerated Susana along with the two women who had accompanied her to get the abortion. According to Manuela Castañeira, director of the Argentine women’s group “Las Rojas,” the three women have been in jail for two months, in a cell with no water, no electricity, and one mattress for the three of them.

Susana wasn’t charged with abortion, but rather with homicide of a blood relative. This crime applies to people who kill their spouse, sibling, parent or child. In an e-mail, Castañeira described the situation:

Susana D. is in jail in Jujuy, a province in Argentina with a disastrous record on women’s rights… [It is] the province with the highest number of rapes of women, and the lowest number of people imprisoned for rape in all of Argentina. Susana wanted to terminate a pregnancy and she had an abortion and [she and two more women] are now in prison for helping Susana.

Susana is now in jail not for having an abortion, but for aggravated homicide of a family member, which is illegal, since this crime only applies to killing a husband, a sibling or an immediate relative. This is scandalous! Nor is this a case of infanticide, since she didn’t kill a newborn baby but rather had an abortion.

This is a total violation of women’s rights, an injustice that has been committed by the state and all of its institutions from the public health system to criminal justice system.

This woman is the expression of the necessity of the legalization of abortion in Argentina. Today there is still no legal justification for incarcerating these women, it’s a totally illegal situation, since they are holding them in what is called “preventative prison” because of the possibility that they will flee and let’s remember that there isn’t a single rapist or murderer in Argentina being held in in “preventative prison,” so the real criminals are always free, but women aren’t.

In the above video, Verónica Cruz, director of the Center of Las Libres, Manuela Castañeira, director of the women’s group “Las Rojas,” and Marianne Møllmann from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission demand the release of Susana D., María G. y María C. Castañeira says, “We are launching this campaign with the release of this video which invites everyone to join and help spread the message so that the authorities in Jujuy free these three women.”

Support the campaign by using these hashtags: #SusanaLibertadYa (#FreeSusanaNow) #MaríasLibertadYa (#FreeMariaNow) #Jujuy

Also, make sure you see the movie Las Libres, about the fight to free women incarcerated for having abortions in Argentina and Mexico.

Related: 
“Las Libres” film on Mexican women convicted for homicide for abortions is coming to a theater near you
New documentary: Mexican women incarcerated for “homicide” after aborting gain their freedom

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.13.50 PMKatie Halper is a blogger, comedian and filmmaker. 

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