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Argentina court grants abortion for teen rape victim

The judge overruled an earlier decision which denied the girl permission to have a termination.

Women shout slogans calling for legal abortions during a demonstration marking International Women's Day in Buenos Aires earlier this year.
Women shout slogans calling for legal abortions during a demonstration marking International Women's Day in Buenos Aires earlier this year.
Image: Victor R. Caivano/AP/Press Association Images

A COURT IN Argentina ruled Friday that a 14-year old rape victim could have an abortion, overturning a judge’s earlier decision barring the girl from seeking the procedure.

The teenage girl discovered early last month that she was pregnant after being raped by her mother’s partner.

The teen and her mother, who live in the city of Salto, one of the most conservative in Argentina, sought an abortion at an area hospital.

But a family court judge in a 17 December ruling denied her petition to terminate her pregnancy, instead ordering the girl to give birth and surrender the baby for adoption.

The lower court decision denying the girl an abortion had provoked outrage by women’s groups which maintained that the judge had exceeded his authority.

Judge Victor Soria had ruled that the right to life of the unborn child trumped the rights of the teen, but Salta’s Supreme Court on Friday overturned that decision.

Abortion for the most part is illegal in Argentina, but there are exceptions, including in the case of rape, or when the life of the mother is at risk.

A federal Supreme Court last year issued a ruling that rape victims could not be punished for terminating a pregnancy, and no longer would need a court’s permission to get an abortion.

The court ruled that a woman’s sworn statement at the doctor’s office that she had been rendered pregnant following a sexual assault would be sufficient.

But the high court ruling has not always been observed, with some conservative localities – like Salto, located some 200 kilometers from Buenos Aires – still requiring that rape victims seek court permission for an abortion, and in some cases refusing to grant it.

- © AFP 2013

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