Why did Brazil Judge Deny Abortion for Pregnant Minor Rape Victim

Photo_ Author Tânia Rêgo/AB Wikimedia

A judge in Brazil has barred an 11-year-old pregnant girl from obtaining an abortion, sparking considerable uproar. Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer is being investigated by the Santa Catarina Court of Justice after it was revealed yesterday that she refused to assist the anonymous girl who was raped earlier this year at her family home in Santa Catarina.

When the girl and her mother consulted a doctor in Florianopolis, she was 22 weeks pregnant. The doctor declined to execute the abortion, claiming that it was allowed only on people up to 20 weeks pregnant and would need a court order to perform the procedure. There are no more specifics about the rape or the perpetrator of the girl, who is now in her 29th week of pregnancy.

As a rule, abortion is prohibited in Brazil and can result in jail time, unless the victim is raped and the mother’s life is in danger. Santa Catarina Public Ministry prosecutor Mirela Dutra Alberton petitioned the court to place her in a shelter. When the case reached the Santa Catarina court, Judge Zimmer transferred the girl to a women’s shelter for protection from her aggressor.

Her anonymous mother reportedly stated that if she had not been taken to the shelter, she would have aborted her daughter herself. The judge also told the mother that if she had allowed the girl to have an abortion, she would not be “protecting her daughter,” but rather “subjecting her to homicide.”

The Santa Catarina Court of Justice has now said that its Internal Affairs Office is now investigating Judge Zimmer’s ruling. The case has sparked significant condemnation in the predominantly Catholic country, with experts reported in local media claiming that there is no legal basis for the scenario, neither for the hospital’s attitude nor for the judge’s judgment.

In another case, the preterm infant of a 12-year-old Bolivian girl who was allegedly raped by her grandfather died last week after the girl was denied an abortion because it was too late.

The hospital’s reluctance to terminate the young girl’s pregnancy at six months startled Bolivia, prompting many to advocate for abortion regulations to be changed.



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