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El Salvador's reprehensible jailing of women who have miscarriages

To the editor: I find it shocking that a 17-year-old house maid in El Salvador who was raped and impregnated by a neighbor and went on to suffer a miscarriage was sentenced to prison for her "crime." The Salvadoran criminal justice system isn't far off from the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem witch trials. ("El Salvador jails women for miscarriages and stillbirths," April 15)

It is one thing for a country to ban abortions, but it is an entirely different matter for a country's judicial system to brand women who have involuntary miscarriages as criminals and to sentence them to prison.

To urge El Salvador to eliminate this abominable practice, the U.S. should discontinue providing aid to the country until the laws are changed. In 2014, the Obama administration pledged more than $250 million over five years in economic aid to El Salvador.

Americans should contact their representatives in Congress to encourage them to stop aid to El Salvador until its abusive laws are changed. I do not want my tax dollars given to such a brutal and misogynistic government.

Phil Stevens, Newport Beach

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To the editor: Young Guadalupe Vasquez is raped by her employer and forced to carry his baby while still working for him until the day she has a miscarriage. Her rapist goes free and she serves more than seven years in prison.

The fate of women like her in neighboring Nicaragua, as The Times notes, was sealed by a Faustian bargain between leftist Daniel Ortega, wanting to rule Nicaragua, and the male-dominated Catholic Church, who expect eternal punishment of women for eating an apple.

The Bible is clear in I Timothy, Chapter 2: "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty."

What's a few years in prison to save the lost souls of women?

Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills

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To the editor: Pope Francis is an extremely powerful and influential man, possibly even more than he himself realizes. If he is as open-minded as he would seem to have the world believe, he will do something to affect stories like these in a positive way.

Regardless of which side one may take on the issue of abortion, it is a perfectly reasonable argument to make that human life does not begin instantaneously.

Ronald Webster, Long Beach

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