Abortion decriminalized in cases of rape
Supreme Court rules pregnancies may be terminated if the woman has been raped.
Argentina’s Supreme Court on March 13 ruled to decriminalize abortion in cases when the pregnancy was the result of rape.
The Court was ruling on the case of a teenager who was raped by her step-father in 2009, a former police officer, and became pregnant. The local courts in her native Chubut province prohibited her from terminating the pregnancy.
According to the 5-2 vote, the court said any woman who is a victim of a rape and decides to terminate the pregnancy, as well as any doctor who performs the abortion, will not face any charges. Additionally, the justices called for hospitals to establish the necessary protocols for sure procedures, including ensuring confidentiality, privacy and information to the patient.
Women’s organizations cheered the vote, though it was criticized by the Catholic Church.
“Without a doubt, this decision represents the first step in recognizing women’s human rights,” said the Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género, a women’s rights group, in a statement. “Courageously assuming the role it is tasked to have, the Court has constitutionally crystallized the rights that international law gives to women.”
For his part, Archbishop José María Arancedo, president of the Argentine Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the “ruling really weakens the defense of life,” calling it “the suppression of an innocent life, and there is no motive or reason that justifies the elimination of an innocent life, not even the lamentable and sad one of rape.”
Abortion is still illegal in Argentina, except for cases of rape, or if the mother’s health or life is in jeopardy. According to nongovernmental organizations, each year 100 women die in the 500,000 illegal abortions performed, many in unhealthy conditions and by untrained individuals. —Latinamerica Press.