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El Salvador court denies appeal in stillbirth case

Women protest outside a courtroom, demanding that the government free women prisoners who are serving 30-year prison sentences for having an abortion, in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Abortion is illegal in all situations in El Salvador. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

Women protest outside a courtroom, demanding that the government free women prisoners who are serving 30-year prison sentences for having an abortion, in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Abortion is illegal in all situations in El Salvador. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — An El Salvador court on Wednesday rejected the appeal of a woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for what she says was a stillbirth.

Teodora del Carmen Vasquez said she was working in 2007 when she began to experience intense pain, then bleeding. She called for help before fainting. When she regained consciousness she had lost her nearly full-term baby.

Authorities charged Vasquez with aggravated murder and she was convicted in 2008.

Her attorneys appealed her sentence, presenting testimony that the baby was born dead.

The court said it relied on the government autopsy's conclusion that the girl was born alive and asphyxiated.

Human rights group Amnesty International called the decision a step back for justice.

El Salvador is one of four Latin American countries with total bans on abortion.

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