A 12-year-old rape victim has given birth to twins in Argentina after being denied an abortion by local authorities.
- The names and identities of the girl and her rapist are unknown.
- Medical professionals have criticized the authorities for denying the abortion despite protocol allowing girls under the age of 15 to have access to legal abortions.
- Many countries in Latin America are known to have some of the world’s strictest abortion laws.
After authorities in Argentina denied a rape victim from having an abortion, a 12-year-old child has now become the mother of twins.
Last Sunday, the girl became the mother of two babies after she underwent a cesarean section operation at the Hector Quintana Maternal and Child hospital. According to the Daily Mail, the Network of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide has accused local authorities ‘of deliberately delaying acting on the girl’s situation until she was far enough into her pregnancy for the twins to survive outside of her womb’. It is important to note that the 12-year-old had the right to a legal termination of pregnancy on account of her young age. As a result, the Jujuy branch of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide has released a statement in which they criticized the authorities’ decision to deny the abortion:
“Despite the fact that the National Directorate of Sexual Health made an offer to immediately resolve the situation, preserving the physical and emotional health of the girl, the authorities in charge of the local Health portfolio, rejected the proposal and they decided not to guarantee this girl her right to ILE (legal interruption of pregnancy).”
The network accused authorities of forcing the child to remain pregnant.
According to the Mirror, the Network of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide further accused the authorities of “buying time” and delaying the abortion until it was too late. That is, they claimed that “the National Direction of Sexual Health contacted provincial authorities and offered to immediately help the girl but were met with delays”. It is unclear why officials stalled the child’s case as protocol allows girls under the age of 15 to have legal abortions due to the health risks of underage pregnancies.
Argentina, like many other countries in Catholic Latin America, has strict laws and restrictions on abortion.
The Daily Mail reported that the law currently dictates that a woman can terminate her pregnancy only when it endangers her life or health. Moreover, in 2019, the legislation was updated to allow women access to abortions in cases where they have been victims of rape. Otherwise, abortion is seen as a criminal offense which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Taking this further, self-induced abortion is also punishable by up to 4 years.
The Network of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide further disclosed that the 12-year-old mother has been placed under the care of the Children’s Ombudsman due to her parent’s ‘legal situation’. No further information has been given regarding the girl, the twins, or her attacker.