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Baby Death Trial Reveals Growing Persecution of Women in Mexico Who Miscarry

David Agren - The Guardian
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November 8, 2017
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Demonstrators supporting a woman’s right to an abortion march in downtown Mexico City (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)

The day that Dafne McPherson’s life came apart began like any other: she dropped her seven-year-old daughter Lia at school, then started her shift in the children’s clothing section of the Liverpool department store in the central Mexican city of San Juan del Río.

At around 5pm, she felt a sharp abdominal cramp and spoke to the store nurse, who told her nothing was amiss. But shortly afterwards, in the second-floor bathroom, McPherson went into labor. She says she hadn’t even realized that she was pregnant.

McPherson is currently serving a 16-year sentence after she was convicted of homicide for the death of her baby in what she says was a miscarriage.

Her case gained national notoriety when court videos surfaced in which the prosecutor described McPherson’s alleged actions as something “not even a dog would do”.

But activists say the trial demonstrates a growing trend in which Mexican prosecutors in conservative parts of Mexico criminalize women who have miscarriages or complicated childbirths by accusing them of intentionally inducing abortion – which remains illegal in much of the country.

“When they started investigating Dafne, it was as an abortion investigation, not a homicide case,” said Karla Michel Salas, a human rights lawyer familiar with McPherson’s case.

The persecution of women who have miscarriages started after Mexico City decriminalized abortion a decade ago. In response, other states introduced further restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, Salas said.

Most of the women charged in such cases are poor and unable to find a competent lawyer to defend them, she added.

Read the rest at The Guardian

Related: Mexican Women Pay High Price for Country’s Rigid Abortion Laws (The Guardian)


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