University of Baltimore Journal of International Law


In 2011, Maria Teresa Rivera, then a 27-year-old garment factory worker and single mother of a five-year-old son, was working an afternoon shift when she started bleeding. She left work for home and was found later passed out in the bathroom by her mother who took her to the hospital. There she learned she had suffered a miscarriage from a pregnancy that she did not know about, but instead of being treated and released, the hospital reported Maria to the police for aborting her unborn child. She was handcuffed to her hospital bed while seven police officers surrounded and questioned her for hours without an attorney. When she was discharged, she was arrested, charged with aggravated murder, sent to jail, and, after an eightmonth trial, sentenced to forty years’ imprisonment for the crime. Three years later, she is still in prison awaiting an appeal by her attorney for a pardon and release from prison. Her appeal is currently pending before the High Counsel of El Salvador.