An 11-year-old Argentinian girl was forced to give birth to her rapist's child via C-section after the government denied her an abortion for several weeks, igniting outrage in the country.
The young girl, who has been referred to as “Lucía” in order to protect her identity, became pregnant after her grandmother's 65-year-old partner raped her, according to local media. Almost immediately, she filed for a legal interruption of pregnancy in Tucumán, a self-declared “pro-life province” in Argentina. “I want this thing the old man put inside me taken out,” she told authorities, per BBC.
The government intervened in Lucía's case. Although her mother agreed with her wishes to terminate the pregnancy, there was confusion over who actually qualified as her legal guardian. She’d been placed in her grandmother’s care, but her grandmother was stripped of her status as guardian for living with the child’s rapist. By the time the Argentian government decided what to do, Lucía was too far along in her pregnancy.
On Tuesday, the Tucumán a las 7 reported that health authorities told the hospital director to carry out the “necessary procedures to attempt to save both [the child’s and the fetus’s] lives,” per a family judge’s decision. Allegedly out of concern for Lucía’s well-being, doctors decided that a C-section at 23 weeks pregnant was less risky than an abortion, a decision that could be in breach of the victim’s rights under criminal code. Currently, the baby is living in an incubator at hospital and it is unknown if it will survive.
Following the C-section, various human rights groups and people involved in the case slammed the Tucumán state health authorities over what they believe were “unjustified delays” and “violations of rights,” arguing that authorities had deliberately kept the child pregnant long enough that she would have to give birth.
“I believe that [the governor of Tucumán] Juan Manzur, due to an electoral issue, prevented the legal interruption of the pregnancy and forced to the child to give birth,” said Cecilia Ousset, who was with the girl during the C-section, per the Buenos Aires Times.
Reports on Lucía come nearly seven months after Argentina rejected what would've been a groundbreaking bill for the South American country, legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.