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News > Argentina

11-Year-Old Argentine Rape Victim Denied Right To Abortion, Gives Birth At 23-Weeks

  • Abortion rights activists hold up green handkerchiefs, symbolize the abortion rights movement, outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 19, 2019

    Abortion rights activists hold up green handkerchiefs, symbolize the abortion rights movement, outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 19, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 February 2019

The rape victim was given a caesarian section at court order after being denied her right to an abortion. Her abuser, her grandmother's partner, threatened to kill her.

Major protests are planned in Argentina after the government refused several pleas by an 11-year-old rape victim to allow her the right to a legal abortion.

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On Tuesday Lucia, as the young girl is being called to protect her identity, was forced by health officials to have a cesarean section at 23 weeks “to protect both lives,” according to the Public Health Ministry of Tucuman located in northern Argentina.

The premature infant is not expected to live, says The Guardian.

Four times Lucia, her family and abortion rights organizations demanded Lucia have access to an abortion she was entitled to by Argentine law that allows women to terminate their pregnancy in case of rape or incest.

The cesarean was performed Tuesday by court order after a doctor testified that it was necessary because Lucia faced “high obstetric risk” should her pregnancy continue.

Ever since the young Lucia found out she was pregnant by her grandmother’s 65-year-old partner, she has been hospitalized attempting suicide twice and telling doctors: “I want you to remove what the old man put inside me.”

Lucia had been living with her grandmother since 2015 after it was revealed her two older sisters were being abused by her mother’s partner. Her abuser had threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the rape.

The National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion (NCRLSFA) said it “strongly repudiates … the violation of fundamental human rights by the executive branch, the public prosecutor's office, the judiciary and the public health system of Tucuman for forcing an 11-year-old girl, who was the victim of a rape, to continue with a pregnancy that she expressly requested to interrupt.”

The Campaign says there were illegal and “unjustified delays” by public health authorities, including Gustavo Vigliocco, Tucuman’s health secretary, who insisted Lucia wanted to give birth, a claim denied by activists who had access to court proceedings, according to The Guardian. “I am close to both the child and her mother. The child wants to continue her pregnancy,” Vigliocco had previously stated in local radio interview.

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The NCRLSFA denounced Vigliocco and state hospital doctors who cared for the child for violating her “ integrity (that) was not respected and, once again, they violated professional secrecy by divulging her clinical history, revictimizing her,” said the abortion rights organization in a statement.

Dr. Cecilia Ousset who performed the procedure told The Guardian, “We saved the life of an 11-year-old girl who was tortured for a month by the provincial health system.” The medical professional accused Tucumán’s governor, Juan Manzur, of using the child for political purposes.

“For electoral reasons they [the authorities] prevented the legal interruption of the pregnancy and forced the little girl to give birth,” said Ousset.

The NCRLSFA is also demanding the resignation of Governor Manzur and staging protests and a press conference Thursday evening in front of the former ministry of public health of Buenos Aires under the hashtags, #NiñasNoMadres (KidsNotMoms) and #BastaLaTorturaDeNiñas (EndTheTortureOfKids).

The National Campaign has been pushing for free, safe and legal abortions for up to the first 14 weeks of gestations in Argentina for over a decade. Their bill for the proposal monumentally made it through the House of Representatives last summer, but was voted down by the Senate.

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