On December 8th, Teodora’s case was suposed to be reviewed by the same judges who sentenced her ten years ago, but the fresh hearing for 34-year-old Teodora del Carmen Vásquez has been postponed until Decemeber 13, according to Lene Christensen, an employee of Amnesty International who is in El Salvador and was waiting to learn about the fate of Vásquez in December 8.
“The prosecutor asked for the hearing to be postponed, because the prosecutor in charge was not available. The new prosecutor, who had been assigned to the case yesterday, was not familiar with the case and the new evidence that the defence wanted to present during the hearing. Therefore, the prosecutor asked for the hearing to be postponed for at least three days, in order to go through the case properly," she said. "The legal argument for the postponement that the prosecutor used was the principle of equality between the parts (defence and prosecutor).”
Vásquez was sentenced to 30 years in prison after having a miscarriage in El Salvador - where abortion is a crime under any circumstance. El Salvador is a country where women have been routinely locked up simply for having complicated pregnancies. That’s because El Salvador still has a total ban on abortion. As a consequence, women who are seeking medical help for pregnancy-related complications can be convicted of breaking the law, and even miscarriages and stillbirths can be treated as crimes.
Amnesty International Norway is bringing attention to her case with an online campaign intended to tell the story of women’s rights in El Salvador through I Am Listening, a distress signal on the Norwegian FM-band that has gone viral after hitting Facebook and Twitter. On December 7, the hijacked signal reached La Prensa Grafica, one of El Salvador's biggest newspapers.
As presented by The Guardian, Teodora was 24 years old and nine months pregnant when she felt a pain in her abdomen. After calling emergency services, she started bleeding and lost consciousness before help arrived. Vásquez, later found herself surrounded by police officers who accused her of murdering her baby by inducing an abortion. She was handcuffed and detained. Abortion has been banned in all circumstances since 1998 in El Salvaror; it is reported than at least 19 women are serving long prison sentences after suffering obstetric complications during pregnancy.
According to Teodora's mother, she is positive about the future. Amnesty reported that she is healthy and well, and has been taking classes inside the prison. Her dream is to one day go to university and get a job. But her biggest wish for the future is simple: to be reunited with her 12-year-old son and loved ones.
Teodora's veredict is pending.