The total ban on abortion in El Salvador has caused the criminalization of women who do not have access to reproductive health services. Since abortion was included as a crime in Salvadoran legislation, hundreds of women have been unfairly prosecuted for reasons associated with abortion and obstetric emergencies; they are accused of the alleged crimes of abortion and aggravated homicide in a judicial system full of gender stereotypes.
Several international human rights bodies have repeatedly insisted that El Salvador must release all women who are unjustly imprisoned because of this situation. In March 2020, the UN concluded that the detentions of several of these women were arbitrary. In the same year international pronouncements pointed out to the Salvadoran State that the COVID-19 pandemic was one more argument to release them all because, these are women who should never have been in prison, much less exposed to a virus.