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El Salvador commutes women's 30-year abortion sentence

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2017 file photo, Salvadoran Teodora Vasquez, found guilty of what the court said was an illegal abortion via a miscarriage, arrives in a courtroom to appeal her 30-year prison sentence, in San Salvador, El Salvador. The country’s Supreme Court has commuted Vasquez's sentence for what she says was a stillbirth. The court ruled Thursday, Feb. 15 2018, that evidence in the case did not prove she took any specific action to abort the pregnancy, which is illegal in El Salvador. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2017 file photo, Salvadoran Teodora Vasquez, found guilty of what the court said was an illegal abortion via a miscarriage, arrives in a courtroom to appeal her 30-year prison sentence, in San Salvador, El Salvador. The country’s Supreme Court has commuted Vasquez's sentence for what she says was a stillbirth. The court ruled Thursday, Feb. 15 2018, that evidence in the case did not prove she took any specific action to abort the pregnancy, which is illegal in El Salvador. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez, File)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — El Salvador's Supreme Court on Thursday commuted the sentence of a woman serving 30 years in prison for what she says was a stillbirth.

The court ruled the evidence in the case did not prove she took any specific action to abort the pregnancy, which is illegal in El Salvador, and thus was eligible for a form of clemency.

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.

In December, a court rejected her appeal of the sentence.

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

The human rights group Amnesty International said Vasquez' release "must open the door for an end to the country's extreme anti-abortion law."

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