A 12-year-old rape victim has given birth to twins in Argentina after being denied an abortion by local authorities amid tough restrictions on abortion in the country.
According to Mail Online, Authorities in Jujuy forced the child to remain pregnant until the twins could be safely delivered by caesarean section despite abortion only legalised in cases of rape.
The birth of the kids by the rape victim has outraged medical professionals who have condemned the authorities’ decision to deny her a legal abortion.
The Jujuy branch of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide released a damning statement on the handling of the case:
‘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 statement read.
The statement was posted to social media along with a comment accusing the State of ‘sinisterly perpetuating’ inequalities faced by abused girls when it should be protecting them.
Health Professionals for the Right to Decide, also accused 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.
The 12-year-old girl lives in Monterrico, a city in northwestern Argentina about 37km from San Salvador de Jujuy, according to El Comerico. She underwent a caesarean section operation at the Hector Quintana Maternal and Child hospital last Sunday.
According to Human Rights Watch, legislation around abortion in Argentina does not set a time limit for legal abortions but authorities and health officials often set arbitrary limits.
The girl has now been placed under the care of the Children’s Ombudsman due to her parent’s ‘legal situation’, according to the statement from Health Professionals for the Right to Decide.
Argentina has the world’s toughest restriction on abortion. Currently, abortion is covered by Section 86 of the country’s 1921 criminal code, which says that pregnancy can only be legally terminated when it endangers the woman’s life or health.
However, the legislation was updated in 2019 to give rape victims access to legal abortions.
In all other instances, abortion is considered a criminal offence punishable by up to 15 years in prison, while the sentence for self-inducing abortion or consenting to the procedure is up to four years.