Abortion ban

Mexican woman jailed for years after miscarriage released on appeal

Dafne McPherson has been released from prison. (YouTube/El Financiero Bloomberg)

Dafne McPherson, a Mexican mother of one, was working in a department store in San Juan del Rio when she began suffering severe stomach pain. Unaware that she was even pregnant, she went to the bathroom and went through labor before passing out from blood loss on the floor. When she awoke in the hospital, prosecutors accused her of having murdered her baby by suffocating it in the toilet. McPherson was found guilty and sentenced to 16 years in jail.

On Thursday, after three years in prison, McPherson was finally allowed to walk free after an appeals court found that the prosecution had used faulty scientific evidence to help convict her.

In Mexico, abortion remains illegal in much of the country — particularly in areas with conservative Catholic cultures. And McPherson’s case is representative of a number of women who have found themselves targeted for prosecution under abortion law following stillbirths, miscarriages, or other complications.

For McPherson, 29, the pain of miscarrying a pregnancy she had not been aware of was hard enough to deal with. But after she faced prosecution, her family was forced to sell the family home to cover her legal costs. During the trial, the prosecution described her to jurors as less human than “even a dog.”

“They didn’t investigate — they didn’t do a thing,” said McPherson of the prosecutors who put her in chains. “That’s why there are people inside who shouldn’t be in prison.”

For now, she said, she is trying to not dwell on what’s past.

“I’m very happy. I’m going to be able to see my baby,” said McPherson, referring to her young daughter Lia. It will be the first time she sees her daughter in three years.

Watch an interview (in Spanish) with Dafne McPherson below on El Financiero Bloomberg:

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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