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July 23, 2014
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13-year-old girl finally gets abortion

Protesters gather outside the Buenos Aires provincial house in downtown BA last week.

A public hospital in Greater Buenos Aires had denied procedure citing risks to mother’s health

A 13-year-old girl who became pregnant due to rape underwent a legal abortion on Friday, after a public hospital in Moreno in BA province had originally refused to carry out the procedure citing risks to the girl’s life.

The case is sparking renewed outrage from both sides of the debate over the country’s abortion legislation.Women’s rights groups yesterday took aim at the public Mariano y Luciano de la Vega Hospital in the Greater Buenos Aires district of Moreno, where the girl — who they reported to be recovering well after Friday’s surgery — was initially refused an abortion.

Friday’s procedure began with medication from a private clinic and concluded at a public hospital “outside the area of Buenos Aires province,” though the women’s groups did not give details about the facilities in order to protect the staff at the medical establishments.

In a joint press release, the groups — led by the National Campaign for the Right to Free, Safe and Legal Abortions — denounced the Greater Buenos Aires public hospital’s alleged “mistreatment and coercions, lack of adequate personnel and medical attention, and for the release of the girl’s medical history.”They also criticized the hospital’s directors as well as officials from the Health Ministry, whose assertions about the abortion “risking the girl’s life” were “false,” since the procedure eventually ran smoothly, they suggested.

The organizations said they would “accompany the (girl’s) family in corresponding legal actions in order to reach a criminal case and achieve the necessary punishment for those authorities who have disrespected (the girl’s) rights.”On the contrary, the girl and her mother were “cared for professionally and carefully, by both the professionals that initiated the procedure in the private clinic and the hospital’s medical staff,” the statement said.

Fresh debate

The public hospital on the outskirts of Buenos Aires City had recommended on April 28 that the girl’s pregnancy should not be interrupted, a decision that angered women’s rights groups and led to a protest in front of the hospital as well as the provincial office in downtown Buenos Aires.

However, the hospital’s associate director, Mariana Dunayevich, seemed to be standing by the decision yesterday telling La Nación daily the abortion “would have put the mother’s life at risk” because “it’s not an abortion, rather a preterm birth.”

The Buenos Aires province Health Minister Alejandro Collia took a similar line, praising the “quick care” the girl received and reaffirming she “wasn’t in the right conditions to undergo an abortion.”Justifying the decision, Collia said the girl “was almost 24 weeks and the foetus weighed 680 grams,” he told the La Red radio station.The girl had undertaken a pregnancy test in her home, which gave a positive result. At 23 weeks, she approached the hospital in Moreno where she was reviewed by a number of professionals and given an appointment for 45 days time.

“They cited supposed periods of time for an abortion (to take place), when not even the Penal Code’s Article 86, the national Health Ministry’s Technical Guide for non-criminal abortions, provincial protocol or the WHO guidelines state a maximum term for the medical procedure,” the women’s rights organizations said.

The World Health Organization recommends an abortion at no longer than 20-22 weeks gestation and when the foetus weighs up to 500 grams.

In Argentina, a girl or woman can legally undergo an abortion if the pregnancy risks her life or if the pregnancy is the product of sexual abuse.

Herald with online media

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