Do Not Send Woman Back to Jail Over Miscarriage

Target: Douglas Melendez, Attorney General of El Salvador

Goal: Do not jail a woman charged with “aggravated homicide” after miscarrying.

Maria Teresa Rivera, a Salvadorian woman charged with aggravated homicide after miscarrying in 2011, has made headlines after a judge ruled that there was not sufficient evidence against her. However, her freedom is now at risk as her ruling is considered for appeal. Sign the petition and demand that Maria Teresa Rivera is set free from this appeal.

Rivera’s ordeal began when her mother found her unconscious and bleeding on the floor. She brought Rivera to the hospital, where a hospital worker determined that Rivera’s injuries were consistent with abortion, which has been illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador since 1998. Rivera was handcuffed in her hospital bed as she lay bleeding.

At the trial, Rivera claimed that she had no idea she was pregnant; the court ruled that this was a lie based on the testimony of Rivera’s boss, who claimed that Rivera told her in January 2011 that she was pregnant. If this were true, Amnesty International points out, then Rivera would have been 11 months pregnant at the time of her arrest – an obvious impossibility.

After a years-long ordeal, a judge ruled that Rivera’s human rights had been violated and ordered her release. The ruling came on the heels of a report from El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsperson, which stated that “the authorities had violated the principle of the presumption of innocence and that they had not proven [Rivera’s] guilt.” Despite all this, the attorney general is considering appealing the case, which means Rivera might soon be back in jail.

Stand up for an innocent woman. Sign this petition and demand that these charges are dropped against Maria Teresa Rivera.


Dear Attorney General Melendez,

I am writing to urge you not to appeal the judge’s ruling in the case of Maria Teresa Rivera, a woman accused of having an abortion after she miscarried. The evidence against her is flimsy, and she has not been treated with the respect she is entitled to by law. Please let her return to her life in peace.

In 2011, Rivera suffered a miscarriage. Bleeding and unconscious, she was found by her mother-in-law and rushed to the hospital. When she arrived there, however, a worker reported her to the police for exhibiting signs of having had an abortion. Rivera claimed not to have known she was pregnant, despite the fact that during the trial, her employer testified that Rivera had mentioned the pregnancy to her in January 2011. If this were true, then Rivera would have been 11 months pregnant at the time of her arrest, which is obviously impossible.

In light of the fact that very little evidence exists against Rivera, I think it is only right that the matter be considered closed. I urge you not to appeal the case and to let an innocent woman move on with her life.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: AlexVan

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