Imelda Cortez Accused of Trying to Abort Rapist's Baby Freed

Twenty-year-old Imelda Cortez became pregnant in 2016 after years of being raped by her 70-year-old stepfather. In April 2017, she gave birth to a baby girl in the toilet. At the time, she did not know she was pregnant, Cortez said. When she went to the hospital, a doctor accused her attempting to have an abortion and reported her to authorities.

While at the hospital, she confided in officials about the years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. Doctors and officials doubted her story, but a DNA test proved him to be the father of her child. He now awaits trial for aggravated sexual assault of a minor.

The Salvadoran rape survivor accused of attempting to abort her abuser's baby was released on Monday after a judge found her not guilty on reduced charges in a case that tested the country's strict enforcement of a total ban on abortion.

Cortez was originally charged with attempted aggravated homicide, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Her lawyers insisted that there was no evidence that proved that she induced an abortion or that she intended to harm her baby.

But judges have taken a rigid understanding of the country's abortion laws since the Central American nation fully criminalised abortion in all cases in 1998, sending dozens of women to prison for suspected abortions.

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