A Teen Rape Victim Has Been Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison After A Stillbirth

19-year-old Evelyn was convicted for a stillbirth after enduring months of rape and sexual abuse.

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Rape. Stillbirth. Prison.

Just one of the above would strike fear into the heart of any woman or man. However, for one El Salvador teenager, she's experienced all three.

On Wednesday, El Salvador rape victim Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was sentenced to 30 years in prison for failing to seek antenatal care, resulting in the alleged murder of a foetus.

The 19-year-old gave birth in a toilet in April 2016 after falling ill with back and stomach pain, reports the Guardian.

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Despite being in her third trimester, the then 18-year-old wasn't aware she was pregnant, after repeatedly being raped by a gang member over several months.

Medical professionals were unable to determine whether the foetus died during Hernandez's pregnancy or following its delivery.

The teenager claims she only realised she'd given birth after her mother took her to hospital with abdominal pain.

She was subsequently arrested after police found the deceased foetus in the bathroom, and spent a week handcuffed to a hospital bed while she received treatment for anaemia and a urinary tract infection (UTI).

As a result, the judge agreed with the prosecutor's claims that Hernandez failed to seek medical help, intentionally tried to murder the child, and even suggested the teenager's mother may also be criminally responsible.

Morena Herrera, executive director of the Citizens' Group for the Decriminalisation of Abortion, said the teen's sentencing was based on prejudices held by the legal system.

'The judgment sentencing Evelyn to 30 years in prison shows how in El Salvador justice is applied without direct proof, without sufficient evidence that clarifies what a woman has done,' she said in a press release provided by Sunshine Sachs.

'In this case, Evelyn did not kill her newborn child. She simply experienced an obstetric emergency and the state prosecutor has badly interpreted the facts and unfortunately the judge hasn't listened to the witnesses that told her there was no direct proof. We're going to appeal this decision,' she added.

El Salvador currently imposes a total abortion ban on women, despite the fact a bill has been introduced in the El Salvador Assembly that would decriminalise abortion in circumstances, such as when a pregnancy puts the life and health of the woman at risk, a medical diagnosis where the foetus cannot survive, and a pregnancy resulting from sexual violence or human trafficking pregnancy.

Hernandez's lawyer Dennis Munoz said the decision to imprison his client was 'based on morality, not the law or justice'.

We couldn't agree more.

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