Group 11 is closely following the case of Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, an El Salvadoran woman who suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s ban on abortions and has been in jail since 2008. She was presumed guilty of ‘abortion’ rather than the victim of pregnancy complications.

As of late June 2017, an El Salvadoran court has agreed to accept revisions to Teodora’s case but no date for the hearing has been set.


The 2017 Individuals at Risk Case Commitment Award was presented to Group 11 at the Amnesty International USA Annual General Meeting held in Albuquerque, NM. in March.

2017 Individuals at Risk Case Commitment Award
2017 Individuals at Risk Case Commitment Award

The Individuals at Risk Awards honors AIUSA activists and groups who demonstrate exceptional dedication and leadership by helping to free prisoners of conscience, support human rights defenders and end other urgent cases of abuse by taking part in the Urgent action network, Case Commitment Initiative or Write for Rights.

Group 11 was acknowledged for their work to free Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, a Salvadoran woman currently  serving a 30 year sentence for homicide after suffering a stillbirth at work.  According to the AI Individuals at Risk, Teodora’s mother, Maria Elena, told Amnesty’s researchers,

I thank you [Amnesty] because you are fighting for her… and this process will continue until she gets out of there. And this motivates me, it motivates me with great joy in my own heart, and I thank you in the name of God.

Sandra Robishaw receiving Case Commitment Award on Behalf of Group 11
Sandra Robishaw receiving Case Commitment Award on Behalf of Group 11

The award was received by Sandra Robishaw, who gave special recognition to Martha Spital, long-time volunteer and co-leader of  “Team Teodora”

What You Can Do

If you wish to send a letter to the El Salvadoran Minister of Justice on Teodora’s behalf, a sample is here.

Additional background information on El Salvador’s draconian abortion laws, which punish women with lengthy prison sentences, please see AIUSA Group 11’s area page on El Salvador.