A Salvadoran woman serving a 30-year sentence for murder after suffering a miscarriage in 2007 has been formally pardoned by the country's Congress. Earlier this week, the woman, Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez, was denied a pardon after the resolution failed by one vote.
Vasquez was just 18 when she was accused of murder after suffering complications during her second pregnancy. After Congress narrowly voted against pardoning her on Saturday, Tim Rogers of Fusion reports, left-wing lawmakers from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) managed to cobble together the 43 votes needed for her release. Almost as soon as the vote passed, he reports, right-wing lawmakers from the AREA party erupted in dismay, accuseing the FMLN of forging signatures to force the matter to a second vote:
"You're going to have to live with this," hissed ARENA congresswoman Alejandrina Castro. "Abortion is just murder in disguise! Life starts at conception!"
"This is fraud and falsification!" protested fellow ARENA lawmaker Ernesto Angulo. "We are going to take this as far as we have to fight for justice."
According to Reuters, a human rights group pushing to decriminalize abortion in El Salvador hopes this will be the first step towards freeing other women who have also been imprisoned on charges of homicide after obtaining abortions or experiencing miscarriages. At least 129 women have been jailed under the country's abortion laws. Amnesty International called the pardon "a triumph of justice."
A protester supporting Vasquez carries a sign reading "Pardon her already." Image via Twitter/Las Hijas Del Safo