Rachel Nolan reports on Salvadorian Colonias,
For the October issue of Harper’s Magazine, Rachel Nolan traveled to El Salvador, the only country in the world that systematically finds and punishes women suspected of having abortions. In January, after the number of registered Zika cases there climbed over 4,000, the Health Ministry recommended that women avoid pregnancy for two years. As she writes in her piece, “Innocents,” this response seemed particularly absurd for El Salvador, a country of 6.3 million where at least five women are raped a day, gangs use rape as an initiation rite, and a third of those pregnant are under the age of nineteen. To stop Zika from spreading, health officials have also been going out on eradication rounds. One day this spring, Nolan tagged along.
When I joined a group of Health Ministry officers on their eradication rounds in San Salvador, the capital, we were assigned to the neighborhood of Colonia Iberia, where, they explained, the situation was certainly complicated. The crew seemed nervous, and not at all happy to have me with them. “It’s a community,” a health officer said, and another translated that this meant that gang members prowl openly. If you call the police, they won’t come—they might not be allowed in. That day, the “community leaders” (the gang hierarchy), had given us permission to enter.
Read the full article, Innocents: Where pregnant women have more to fear than Zika