A court in El Salvador, on Monday, 9 May, sentenced a woman, who had suffered a miscarriage, to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide.
The woman, identified with the pen name Esme, was sentenced after almost two years of pre-trial detention.
"Esme's sentencing is a devastating step backward for the progress that has been made in the unlawful criminalization of women suffering obstetric emergencies in El Salvador," Paula Avila-Guillen, international human rights lawyer and executive director of the Women’s Equality Center, told The Guardian.
Activists are arguing that the court sentence should be ringing alarm bells for women in the United States, where the supreme court is considering an overturn of Roe v Wade.
"Everyone in the US should have their eyes on El Salvador right now to understand exactly what a future without Roe entails," Avila-Guillen added.
Esme’s lawyers, in a statement to Reuters, said that they would appeal the decision, which is the first conviction of its kind under the administration of President Nayib Bukele.
He had previously said no woman should be imprisoned for an obstetric emergency (a health emergency that is life-threatening for pregnant woman and her baby).
El Salvador has some of the most draconian abortion laws in the world as there is a total ban on it.
The government, unlike other Latin American countries, does not permit abortion even when the child is conceived by rape or incest, or where the health of the mother or child is at risk.
More than 180 women in El Salvador have been jailed for murder for carrying an abortion after suffering obstetric emergencies in the past 20 years.
(With inputs from Reuters and The Guardian.)