Las17, CaixaForum, Barcelona, 2017

Abortion has been illegal in El Salvador since 1998. This is the case in any and all circumstances, including when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the mother. The extremely conservative politics of the country are due in part to the roman catholic church, which exerts and outsized influence on Salvadorian politics and spearheaded a campaign in the 1990s that led to some of the most draconian laws against reproductive rights in the world.

Even women suffering from spontaneous abortions or obstetric complications have been targeted for prosecution. Between 2000 and 2014, there were more than 250 complaints to authorities from medical personnel, which resulted in 147 prosecutions and 49 convictions—26 for murder, and 23 for abortion.

In November 2015, artist Laia Abril began working on a project about 17 Salvadoran women who were accused of homicide after suffering miscarriages or obstetric complications, and subsequently sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison. These women had come to international attention a year prior via a movement called Las 17 (the 17 women), which sought presidential pardons for them; in prison, they were the targets of physical and psychological abuse by other inmates, and their families were often subject to threats.

28.04.2017 – 30.07.2017
Caixa Forum, Barcelona
Curator: Marta Ponsa