By Jonathon Van Maren
A favorite tactic of abortion activists is to stipulate that, if abortion is illegal, women will be constantly under suspicion of having self-aborted and could be prosecuted for miscarriages. We’ve seen these claims leveled by abortion activists and industry executives in attempting to get laws overturned across Latin and South America — activists in the U.S. are warning that such scenarios are imminent should Roe v. Wade be overturned next month.
El Salvador has been in the crosshairs for some time. Attempts to legalize abortion in 2016 and 2018 failed; in May of 2021, another bill that would have decriminalized abortion was archived by the commission of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, aborting yet another attempt to purge the nation of its pro-life laws. Abortion remains illegal, and the nation’s constitution recognizes “every human being as a human person from the moment of conception.” El Salvador’s penal code allows for sentences of between two to eight years in prison for people performing or procuring abortions.
But activists, supported by foreign NGOs, progressive Western governments, and the global media, have continued to push. Pro-life leaders have begun to push back.
A Salvadoran psychiatrist and former director general of the Dr. Robert Masferrer Institute of Forensic Medisine of El Salvador, Dr. José Miguel Fortín-Magaña Leiva, is pushing back against claims made by the press. Specifically, he released a statement to ACI Prensa, rebutting claims made by Kate Smith, who worked for CBS News before becoming the senior director of news content for Planned Parenthood (prior to her job switch, National Review referred to her as the “CBS News Ambassador for Planned Parenthood.)
In her three years at CBS, Smith worked hard to frame El Salvador as a cruel regime, creating a 2020 documentary warning direly that El Salvador was a cautionary tale for America. El Salvador, Smith told CNN recently, is what America could look like post-Roe, and claimed that since 1998 over 140 women accused by the authorities of procuring abortions were imprisoned for up to 35 years.
“They wake up and they’re shackled to the hospital bed and there was a police officer there investigating them,” Smith said. “Doctors told me that when they are looking at a patient, there is no way for them to tell the difference between an induced abortion and a spontaneous miscarriage.”
Smith’s accusations, says Fortín-Magaña, are egregious, and she “is at best absolutely mistaken when she claims that in El Salvador women are imprisoned and harassed for induced abortions” and is also wrong in claiming “that those who have suffered a miscarriage are also prosecuted and imprisoned by an infamous law.” Her claims, according to Fortín-Magaña, are lies “for the propaganda purposes of the organization she works for today.”