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Woman jailed under El Salvador's harsh abortion law walks free from prison

A Salvadoran woman whom activists say was falsely accused of homicide after suffering a stillbirth has been freed from prison in a case that has sparked renewed scrutiny of El Salvador's sweeping ban on abortion.

By Nelson Renteria

SAN SALVADOR, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A Salvadoran woman whom activists say was falsely accused of homicide after suffering a stillbirth has been freed from prison in a case that has sparked renewed scrutiny of El Salvador's sweeping ban on abortion.

Cindy Erazo was initially sentenced to 30 years in prison after an obstetric emergency during her eighth month of pregnancy resulted in a stillbirth, according to Morena Herrera, head of the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion.

Herrera said Erazo was accused of abortion, which is illegal in El Salvador, and then aggravated homicide. Her sentence was later reduced to 10 years, and then she was freed from prison on Tuesday after a review of her case. In total, she served six years behind bars.

Abortion law has been receiving renewed attention after the death in the United States of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneering women's rights advocate, which has cast doubt over the future of legal abortion there.

In El Salvador, which has one of the world's strictest bans on abortion with no exceptions made for rape, incest or when the mother's life is at risk, some women have been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

Last year, a woman was exonerated on charges of having killed her stillborn son after serving three years of a three-decade sentence.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria, writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

((laura.gottesdiener@thomsonreuters.com;))

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