An 11-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated by her grandmother’s 65-year-old partner was forced to give birth against her will after Argentine authorities refused her access to an abortion. The girl, known as Lucia, underwent a caesarean section on Tuesday after 23 weeks of pregnancy.
Lucia, the youngest of three sisters, had been put in her grandmother’s care in 2015 after her mother’s partner allegedly abused her two older sisters. She was discovered pregnant on January 23 at a first-aid center in her hometown in the northern province of Tucuman. She was later placed in state care after attempting suicide twice.
“I want you to remove what the old man put inside me,” Lucia told a psychologist while in the hospital.
Despite her repeated pleas, Tucaman’s health secretary Gustavo Vigliocco publicly claimed that the child actually wanted to give birth.
“I am close to both the child and her mother. The child wants to continue her pregnancy. We are considering the risks but she has a large contexture, she weighs more than 50 kilos,” said Vigliocco.
Abortion is illegal in Argentina, but is permitted in cases of rape or danger to the woman’s life. In Lucia’s case, doctors said, both applied. But after the state repeatedly delayed attempts to get her an abortion, health professionals moved to perform a caesarean section in order to ensure her safety.
Cecile Ousset, the doctor who performed the procedure, said that Lucia was in good condition but that the baby was unlikely to survive. She also had some choice words for Tucaman governor Juan Manzur, who she accused of subjecting the child to mental and physical torture for political gain.
“We saved the life of an 11-year-old girl who was tortured for a month by the provincial health system,” said Ousset. “For electoral reasons they [the authorities] prevented the legal interruption of the pregnancy and forced the little girl to give birth. My legs trembled when I saw her, it was like seeing my younger daughter. The little girl didn’t understand completely what was going to happen.”
Soledad Deza, of the Women for Women Association, told progressive daily Página/12 that Lucía’s case was not one of conscientious objection by doctors, but a conservative action stemming from the executive branch. “Abortion is a legal option in the case of abuse or risk to life. The state has to ensure the procedure. Here there was the worst kind of cruelty with this child.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.