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This Salvadoran Woman Was Jailed For 10 Years After Having A Stillbirth And Now She’s Fighting For Others Like Her

After spending 10 years behind bars for experiencing a stillbirth, salvadoreña Teodora del Carmen Vásquez was released from prison last month, and now she is determined to help free other victims of her country’s stringent abortion laws.

“The day before gaining my freedom, it was the most exciting and contradictory [thing] at the same time. I had mixed feelings because … I was so eager to get out, but at the same time I thought about my cellmates,” Vasquez, 34, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In 2008, the woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after she gave birth to a lifeless infant in a school bathroom where she worked.

In El Salvador, abortion is banned in all circumstances, including rape, incest, when the parent’s life is in danger or the fetus is inviable. The stringent legislation has led to the incarceration of multiple women, mostly poor and single, who experienced miscarriages.

“I think that these 10 years and seven months [in jail] have marked my life forever, because I won’t ever forget it,” she said.

Vasquez will also remember the women who remain locked up because of anti-abortion law charges.

According to the local Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion (CFDA), which campaigned for Vasquez’s freedom, there are currently 27 women imprisoned for abortion crimes.

They have been accused of ending their pregnancies, wrongfully convicted and placed in jail for murder, when, according to the CFDA, they actually experienced miscarriages, stillbirths or pregnancy complications.

“It’s totally clear that they haven’t committed any crime, but that they suffered an obstetric emergency which led to the loss of their child and that took them from the hospital to jail,” CFDA spokesman Jorge Menjivar told the foundation. “We will continue to seek different avenues until these women can regain their freedom.”

And they now have Vasquez fighting with them.

“For them, my leaving prison was an engine that was ignited. They are hopeful that I will fight on their behalf. … They know I’m going to help them, be with them and for them,” she said.

​In 2016, legislators introduced a bill to allow abortion if the health or life of the parent is at risk, the fetus is inviable or if a pregnancy resulted from sexual violence, but there is no date for a vote and there remains massive opposition from religious groups.

Read: After Spending 10 Years Behind Bars For Having A Stillbirth, This Salvadoran Woman Is Now Free

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A Group Of Primarily Female Mexican Scientists Discovered A Potential Cure For HPV

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A Group Of Primarily Female Mexican Scientists Discovered A Potential Cure For HPV

“If you’re having sex, you’ll likely contract HPV at some point in your life.” That is how one gynecologist explained the sexually transmitted diseases to me, which completely freaked me out. Even though human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus contracted through sexual intercourse, it doesn’t make it less scary when you realize that it’s related to 150 viruses and can lead to cancer for both men and women. While there are vaccines available to prevent the spread of HPV to a broader age group than in previous years, we are finally closer to finding a cure.

A group of primarily female Mexican scientists at the National Polytechnic Institute cured their patients of HPV.

Twitter/@StephDenisse

The team of researchers, led by Dr. Eva Ramos Gallegos (pictured above), treated 420 patients from Veracruz and Oaxaca, and 29 from Mexico City. They used “photodynamic therapy” which “is a treatment that involves using a drug, called a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, and a particular type of light to treat different areas of the body” according to their report.

The doctors found extraordinary results through their method of treatment that led to cure 100 percent of the people that had HPV. They also cured 64.3 percent of people infected with HPV that had cancerous cells, and 57.2 percent of people that had cancerous cells without the HPV virus. That last result could mean that a cure for cancer is not far behind.

“Unlike other treatments, it only eliminates damaged cells and does not affect healthy structures. Therefore, it has great potential to decrease the death rate from cervical cancer,” Dr. Gallegos told Radio Guama.

People on social media ecstatically hailed the finding by the Mexicana researchers.

We highly doubt President Trump will ever mention this achievement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to comment on this remarkable finding.

While there’s more testing that will inevitably take place, we will have to wait and see how long it takes for other researchers and scientists to catch on to their method of treatment.

The fact that a woman-led team discovered this cure is something we should all be applauding.

Hopefully, their research will get more funding so they can further test patients and help educate others about their process.

According to the CDC,  79 million Americans, primarily teens and people in the early 20s, are infected with HPV. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer. The way to prevent contracting HPV is by getting the vaccine — available for males and females — and by using condoms. However, you can still contract HPV because HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom – so condoms may not adequately protect against getting HPV.

READ: Here Are A Handful Of Reasons Why We Need To Talk To Latinx Kids About S-E-X

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A Federal Judge Just Blocked Trumps Effort To Roll Back Birth Control Mandate Across The Country

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A Federal Judge Just Blocked Trumps Effort To Roll Back Birth Control Mandate Across The Country

On Monday, a US federal judge blocked two rules by the Trump administration that would have made it easier for employers, universities and insurers to decline to provide women birth control coverage.

The rules, which were supposed to come into effect throughout the country on Monday, were blocked by Philadelphia Judge Wendy Beetleston, who granted an injunction requested by attorneys general in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Beetlestone stated that the new rules would have needlessly increased difficulty for women to obtain free and affordable contraception and would’ve placed an undue burden on US states by forcing them to provide additional birth control coverage and pay the health costs arising from unplanned pregnancies.

The national block comes after a federal judge in California halted the policy in 13 states and the District of Columbia on Sunday night.

Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), birth control was required to be covered in employer-provided health insurance plans as a preventative service. Prior to taking office, Trump pledged to eliminate the requirement, issuing a policy of “religious freedom” in November that gave employers more flexibility to deny birth control coverage based on their religious beliefs and “non-religious moral convictions” against the contraceptive.

The Obama-era mandate, which already included a provision letting religious institutions forgo birth control coverage for their employees, benefitted more than 55 million women throughout the country. However, by expanding the number of employers and insurers who could opt out, the Trump administration’s regulations could put thousands of women at risk of losing the free or affordable access they have to birth control.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the rulings another success by the courts in stopping the Trump administration’s assault on women’s access to basic reproductive health care.

“It’s 2019, yet the Trump administration is still trying to roll back women’s rights. Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive health care they are guaranteed under the law,” he said in a statement.

Read: Women’s Response To Trump’s Roll Back On Birth Control Will Make You Give A Standing Ovation

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