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A Salvadoran Rape Victim Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Having A Stillbirth Has Been Acquitted

On average, there are 321,000 victims of rape and sexual assault in the United States, and in Latin American countries those numbers are even more horrifying. In many Latin American countries, violence against women is a lot more prevalent and women even end up paying far greater consequences for simply being victims of rape and assault than their abusers. For one, in countries like El Salvador, there’s an absolute ban on abortion which has led to the harsh criminalization of women and their bodies. 

In July of 2017, the now 21-year-old Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide by a court in El Salvador. The year before, the young rape survivor was found on the floor of her bathroom drenched in blood and when she was taken to the hospital, doctors examined her and saw signs of delivery but no baby. Hours later, after doctors had reported this to the authorities, local officials found a newborn dead in a septic tank. Then the young woman was accused of inducing abortion and aggravated homicide. 

On Monday, August 19, 21-year-old Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz was acquitted after a judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict her of the alleged crime she had been accused of years prior. 

According to reports, the young woman walked out of a women’s jail in El Salvador on February 15 where she was met by a crowd of cheering women carrying “Justice for Evelyn” banners. This is where Evelyn had been for nearly three years after being convicted for aggravated homicide after she had a stillbirth. Her recent acquittal, however, didn’t come easy. Earlier this month, she was headed back to the courtroom to be tried once more for the same crime. 

Evelyn isn’t the first woman to be accused of murder by El Salvador after having a miscarriage.

According to BuzzFeed News, she’s one of the dozens of women accused of murder and “her case will be the first of its kind tried under recently inaugurated President Nayib Bukele, who has spoken out against the punishment of impoverished women who have suffered ‘spontaneous abortions,’ putting the new administration’s stance on women’s rights to the test.” Although it’s a significant step in the right direction, there’s still so much more to be done in regards to fighting for these women’s rights to choose and have ultimate control and agency over their bodies.

Evelyn, who served 33 months of her initial 3-year sentence, always maintained her innocence. She repeatedly has said that she didn’t know she was pregnant until the delivery happened. The young woman had been raped by a local gang member while she was still a teenager, and didn’t know she was pregnant until 32 weeks later. 

According to CNN, Evelyn told reporters last month that if she had known she was pregnant, she would have “awaited the baby with pride and joy.” 

Evelyn’s case has not only drawn a lot of media attention because of the nature of it but has also drawn major spotlight to El Salvador’s abortion laws which are known to be some of the strictest in the world. 

The country imposed a total ban on abortions since 1998, according to ThinkProgress. It’s one of the 16 countries in the world with these strict regulations—other countries including Egypt, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, among others. In El Salvador, women who are even suspected of having an abortion could be prosecuted for a crime. 

For example, if a woman even seeks abortion treatment and is reported to the authorities, she could face being prosecuted for that crime. Pregnancy terminations of any kind are simply illegal in El Salvador, including when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother or like Evelyn’s case, even if the woman was raped. 

After the verdict of her acquittal was announced on Monday, Evelyn can be seen smiling jubilantly with tears in her eyes in images circulating on social media. “Thank God, justice was served,” the young woman told reporters after her ruling.  

“I thank all of you who have supported me and thank everyone from around the world who has shown support,” Evelyn said, according to CNN. “It was tough to be locked up, especially when I was innocent. There are others who are still locked up and I hope they are freed soon.” 

Dozens of women in El Salvador have been prosecuted for murder after suffering miscarriages and stillbirth’s and given sentences between 30 and 40 years. 

After this pivotal moment for women’s rights of El Salvador and other countries with similar abortion laws, we hope more individuals will make the choice to support other cases and women like this one. 

Birth Control May Not Make You Gain Weight, But It Does Change Your Body Shape

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Birth Control May Not Make You Gain Weight, But It Does Change Your Body Shape

@tanzacochran / Twitter

Like anatomy in general, birth control can be intimidating, confusing, and even a little scary. But it doesn’t have to be! While there are endless ideas about how birth control affects the body (it gives you acne, it makes you gain weight, it changes your moods, lo que sea), the truth is that everyone’s experience is different. For some, all of these claims might be true—and for others, none of them may be. Yet although each form of birth control impacts individuals in unique ways, there are definitely certain trends to watch out for. So if you’re curious about how birth control might affect your body, get ready for some seriously helpful—and possibly surprising!—information.

For years, many healthcare providers and users of birth control have believed that hormonal methods can lead to excessive weight gain. While bodies fluctuate and weight gain happens naturally for lots of different reasons, people often avoid this type of contraception—which includes the patch, the pill, monthly shots, and some IUDs—in order to avoid that alleged extra poundage.

However, many decades of research seem to dispel the myth that hormonal birth control leads to weight gain.

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A 2014 review of 49 trials comparing 52 different birth control methods led to the conclusion that neither pill nor patch caused significant weight gain. Although “the evidence was not strong enough to be sure that these methods did not cause some weight change,” the reviewers found “no major effect on weight.”

Some studies focused on the combined pill (a version of the pill that contains many different—and often synthetic—hormones), while others investigated pills containing real progesterone, a hormone that our bodies naturally produce. The result was clear: no matter the contents, neither type of pill has a side effect of weight gain. Why, then, do we associate a higher number on the scale with the use of contraception?

According to Maria Gallo, an endocrinologist at Ohio State University who co-authored the review, the notion of weight gain as a symptom of birth control is rooted in a natural human bias.

Credit: Womenshealth.gov

Gallo suggests that when people are influenced by certain ideas or patterns (for example, if a small number of people report gaining weight after starting a new medication), those ideas seem to manifest in real life—even if the data doesn’t support those observations.

“It’s the same reason why there’s this idea that vaccines can cause health problems,” says Gallo. “If you give them to a population, you’re going to have some people who have health problems, whether they’re linked to the vaccine or not.”

In regard to the connection between weight and the pill, Gallo acknowledges that adults of both sexes gain roughly a pound each year, beginning in our early twenties. She points out that this is also the age when people start using contraception. Yet while Gallo asserts that the pill-weight connection is ultimately a myth—and that weight gain is likely attributed to different external factors—she confirms that the pill definitely does change the body in other ways.

Reviews indicate that birth control can change a body’s shape and composition, affecting muscle growth, fluid retention, and overall fat distribution.

Credit: Pinterest

A 2009 study showed that women taking a pill with a certain type of synthetic progesterone were unable to achieve their desired muscle gains. The fake progesterone, it turns out, was competing with a natural hormone called DHEA, which helps promote muscle growth. The impact of the synthetic progesterone kept women from meeting their desired fitness goals, because without a certain amount of DHEA, their bodies were incapable of supporting new muscle development.

On top of that, another study found that different hormones have different effects on fat cells. Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for feminine features, like wide hips, breasts, and booty. The fat that lives on these parts of the body is called subcutaneous fat, and it contains a large number of estrogen receptors. So, the study demonstrated that pills with higher estrogen levels often resulted in more subcutaneous fat and, therefore, a more “pear-shaped” silhouette.

And finally, the puffy feeling we all know too well—bloating—may also be a symptom of the pill. While we might feel bloated after un par de tacos or a big bucket of movie popcorn, that sensation is different than bloating caused by hormones. Estrogen impacts the way our bodies metabolize water, so high-estrogen birth control methods can make the body retain more fluid. Sometimes, this fluid seeps into fat cells, causing them to swell and create the illusion of weight gain. This means that while we may not actually be gaining weight, our clothes might fit differently, and we may feel sort of uncomfortable.

All in all, birth control can absolutely impact the way your body functions—it’s designed to do that! The trick is understanding your own body and finding a method that works for you and keeps you feeling healthy.

Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

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Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

@newsmax / Twitter

Kellyanne Conway is as famous for being a counselor to the president as she is for her bizarre word-gymnastics. Who could forget her infamous coining of the term “alternative facts” when arguing about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd in 2017. One thing Conway is not well-known for, however, are her jokes.

On Monday, Conway made an appearance on the popular cable news morning show Fox & Friends to discuss the impeachment hearings that President Trump is embroiled in. Conway, being who she is, arrived on the program with a veritable vault of sound bites ready to be dispensed at the right opportunity. One of these unfortunate soundbites was a hybrid Christmas/impeachment joke that was lame enough to make the dorkiest of dads cringe.

“For all the incredible buying power in this Trump economy, you know what Americans are not buying this holiday season? Impeachment,” she quipped. 

The joke was in response to a question a Fox & Friends co-host posed about whether it was a “tough decision” for Trump’s lawyers to refuse to participate in the impeachment hearings. After insisting that it was “not a tough decision”, Conway launched into a lengthy diatribe, denouncing Trump’s impeachment as “an unconstitutional, illegitimate engagement”. 

Usually a receptive audience, even the Fox & Friends anchors didn’t seem to be impressed with her attempt at word-play. But Conway didn’t stop there. She continued her amateur stand-up routine by likening the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to Inspector Clouseau (the star of “The Pink Panther” franchise).

“If [Nadler] knew what the charges were…we would already know what were in the articles of impeachment,” she told the morning show. “Why is he playing a game of Inspector Clouseau secret squirrel?” 

And as if that weren’t enough, Conway continued her tirade against the House Judiciary committee, virtually filibustering on the illegitimacy of the impeachment. Conway claimed that Democrats were making Trump “a victim to lots of Americans” who just want to “get on with the business of the country”. Conway posited that if Democrats were so convinced of Trump’s guilt, then “why in the world do [they] spend fifteen hours on Saturday and Sunday trying to figure out what the strategy is for today?”.

Conway, never one to back down from some screen-time, continued on her tirade even when a co-host tried to cut off her rambling speech. “Were [the Democrats] at soup kitchens?” she asked, becoming visibly more unhinged as she continued to speak. “Were they at districts putting wreaths on veteran’s graves? Were they there telling seniors how they’re going to lower their prescriptions drugs? Were they there covering the pot holes? Getting the 5G broadband to kids who don’t have it in rural America? No! They were huddled here in the nation’s capital on your dime wasting your time on more impeachment…”

For all the jokes Conway made at the expense of Democrats, if there’s one person who’s not laughing this week, it’s President Trump.

According to Trump’s lawyers, they are refusing to participate in the impeachment proceedings due to the lack of “any semblance of a fair process” by the House Judiciary Committee. As a refresher, The House Judiciary Committee  decided to move forward with impeaching President Trump after releasing a 300-page report detailing the relationship between Trump and Ukraine. This makes Trump the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached.

As for what many people on Twitter weren’t “buying”, it was Conway’s misrepresentation of the facts.

Conway always has  a way of spinning reality, but nonetheless, it’s still irksome to hear her spouting “alternative facts” on national television.

This person didn’t seem to agree on Conway’s assertion that Americans don’t agree with Trump’s impeachment:

Her claim that Democrats are making Trump a “victim” in the eyes of the American people is dubious, at best. 

This person took issue with Conway calling the impeachment “illegitimate”.

 https://twitter.com/Slartyb63689892/status/1204281120679854081?s=20

It’s not easy to impeach a president. Considering the many scandals that Trump has been involved with since taking office (and before as well), many people would consider the impeachment is a long-time-coming.

This person was skeptical of Conway’s polling data, when there is public evidence suggesting the contrary. 

According to aggregate polling site fivethirtyeight.com, 47.4% Americans support Trump’s impeachment while 45.6% oppose it.

This person coined a new term:

Although we’ve never heard the phrase “Impeachmas” before, we agree that it has quite a nice ring to it.