Mexican woman fights jail sentence for having abortion

Mexico City, July 20 (IANS/EFE) A woman sentenced to one year in jail for having an abortion has taken her case to the highest court in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, her legal defense team told EFE Friday.

"We see this sentence as discriminatory, not in line with due process and has been imposed based solely on Hilda's confession, which she gave under pressure," the defendant's attorney, Alma Beltran y Puga, said in an interview.

The attorney of the Selective Reproduction Information Group, or GIRE, said the case goes back to July 2009, when the woman, then six weeks pregnant, arrived at a hospital "with a medical complication" that turned out to be a miscarriage.

Doctors notified the prosecutor's office that it could be an abortion.

The next day the woman was taken to a police station, though quickly released.

Several days later, however, the woman was arrested, "accused of the crime of abortion", and was sent to jail, though she was released after posting bail of 3,000 pesos ($236), the GIRE attorney said.

On April 5 the judge sentenced the woman to a year behind bars.

Mexico in recent years has had "a pretty worrying propensity for criminalizing women", GIRE says, citing figures that show an annual average of 225 cases like Hilda's.

"The government here is very efficient, though perhaps not for investigating the killing of women in Ciudad Juarez," said Beltran y Puga, referring to the hundreds of unsolved murders of women and girls in that northern border metropolis.

Of Mexico's 32 jurisdictions, only the Federal District - Greater Mexico City - has fully decriminalized abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Elsewhere in the Aztec nation, it has been customary to allow termination of pregnancies resulting from rape.

But some Mexican states, including San Luis Potosi, have adopted laws establishing a right to life starting from the moment of conception.

--IANS/EFE

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