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News > Argentina

Argentina: Premature Baby of 11-Year-Old Raped Girl Who Was Denied Abortion, Dies

  • Woman protest in favor of the decriminalization of abortion in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 25, 2015.

    Woman protest in favor of the decriminalization of abortion in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 25, 2015. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 March 2019

After being denied her legal right to abortion, the young girl was forced to give birth to a nonviable fetus.

In Argentina's province of Tucuman, the Eva Peron Hospital Directorate announced Friday that the premature baby of the 11-year-old raped girl has died due to respiratory complications.

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"The female patient, who was born on Feb. 26, 2019 with 25-gestation weeks and 660 grams of weight, suffered a serious respiratory complication which caused her death," the Hospital Directorate said and remarked that the deceased baby received "intensive care since her birth."

This baby was the daughter of a girl who was raped by her grandmother’s 65-year-old sex partner. Although she requested a Legal Interruption of Pregnancy at week 16 of gestation, the Ministry of Health provincial authorities did not respond with the required promptness.

About eight weeks later, local doctors agreed to perform a cesarean because pregnancy continuation implied high health risks for the girl. The baby was born alive but required intensive care.

The 11-year-old girl’s mother asked Tucuman’s Justice to grant her daughter a legal interruption of pregnancy, alleging that the Argentine Penal Code does allow such medical procedure in rape cases or in situations of risk to the pregnant mother.

"She did not resist: after 11 days, the raped girl's premature baby died."

Public doctors "abstained from obeying laws whose fulfillment compels them in different ways," Soledad Deza, a lawyer of the "Women for Women" organization told Pagina 12, a local media, after she filled a criminal complaint against Rossana Chahla, Tucuman's Minister of Health; Elizabeth Avila, the Hospital Director; and Tatiana Obeid, head of the Gynecology Service.

The criminal investigation must also analyze the actions of Adriana Giannoni, a criminal prosecutor specialized in homicide, whose office represented the hospital in an effort to prevent the legal interruption of the pregnancy, which had been requested for the raped girl.

Several human rights defenders denounced that, besides delaying the abortion, the Tucuman’s health system said cesarean section was not the ideal procedure in these cases.

Although a high-level health officer claimed that "the girl wants to continue with her pregnancy," the raped girl told the hospital psychologist "I want this thing the old man put in me to be taken away out of me." Pagina 12 reported in a timely manner about the girl’s request, which now lies as a historical record within the legal case file.

“Girls, not mothers." In the photo, the sign says: If you think I'm too young to wear a green scarf, imagine me being forced to give birth.”

While the Tucuman case has shocked the country, the Argentine Congress will no longer inquire about what happened with the raped girl's request.

"We conclude our intervention", Graciela Medina, the Women's Rights Commission chairman, said, as local media outlet La Gaceta reported on March. 7.

The parliamentary commission’s decision, however, did not convince all members of the legislature.

"As legislators, we do not judge, but we have the obligation to legislate certain situations," Congresswoman Silvia Rojkes said and stressed that "we must ensure that the state protects the rights ... of the girl, the professionals and society."

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