Argentina: Authorities deny 11-year-old’s right to terminate forced pregnancy

Argentine authorities must be held accountable for putting at grave risk the life of an 11-year-old rape survivor carrying a forced pregnancy and divulging confidential medical information, said Amnesty International today.

“When this 11-year-old rape victim entered hospital requesting a legal abortion, the authorities’ number one duty should have been protecting her life and health. Instead, they put up obstacle after obstacle with the sole aim of denying the girl her rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“Forcing an 11-year-old girl to have to resort to an emergency cesarean which could have been avoided is a cruel injustice that inflicts such psychological and physical harm on the child it could amount to torture under international law.”

“When this 11-year-old rape victim entered hospital requesting a legal abortion, the authorities’ number one duty should have been protecting her life and health. Instead, they put up obstacle after obstacle with the sole aim of denying the girl her rights.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

The 11-year-old girl from the province of Tucuman, north-western Argentina, was admitted into hospital in January after it was discovered she was 19 weeks pregnant, bearing the child of her grandmother’s partner who had sexually abused her. Both the girl and her mother promptly requested an abortion, which is legal in Argentina in cases of rape or when the woman or girl’s life is in danger.

This appalling case is symptomatic of the Argentine authorities' systemic violation of girls’ women's sexual and reproductive rights, silencing their voices and negating their autonomy.
Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina

 However, the authorities repeatedly refused to practice an abortion, using a range of delay tactics, effectively forcing the girl to carry the pregnancy to term against her and her mother’s wishes. They also publicly divulged confidential patient information, including her current health condition and her decision to request access to a legal abortion.

 “This appalling case is symptomatic of the Argentine authorities' systemic violation of girls’ women's sexual and reproductive rights, silencing their voices and negating their autonomy. Time and time again we are seeing these basic rights denied across Argentina, even when they are explicitly protected under national laws,” said Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org