Argentina Court Allows Mentally Disabled Rape Victim to Have an Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 1, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Argentina Court Allows Mentally Disabled Rape Victim to Have an Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 1, 2006

Buenos Aires, Argentina ( — An Argentina court has ruled that a mentally disabled 19 year-old who was a victim of rape can have an abortion. The decision is a concern for pro-life advocates who are worried that it may begin to open the floodgates to legalizing more abortions in historically pro-life South American nations.

Like many other South American countries, Argentina prohibits abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. It also allows abortions when a mentally disabled woman is raped.

Yet, two lower courts denied the abortion and cited a constitutional mandate to protect the right to life of unborn children.

But the top court in the Buenos Aires province reversed their decisions and said the teenager, who is four months pregnant, can have the abortion.

According to a Reuters report, the court said the two exceptions Argentina allows for abortions do not contradict the nation’s pro-life constitution. It said the courts should never have blocked the abortion.

The case could be appealed to the nation’s Supreme Court, but there’s no word yet on whether that will happen.

The abortion battle pitted the Catholic Church against Argentina’s health minsiter and it’s most powerful governor, who publicly backed the abortion. It saw abortion advocates rally outside the court to calls for plans to legalize abortion and a Catholic priest offered to adopt the teenager’s baby.

South America has become the latest abortion battleground as abortion advocates begin to use the courts to legalize more abortions, as they did in the United States over thirty years ago.

Colombia’s top court ruled in May that abortion should be legal in cases of the life of the mother, rape and incest, and when the baby has major physical deformities.

Uruguay saw its House approve a bill to legalize abortions in 2004, but the Senate wound up defeating the measure. The nation’s Congress is debating a new measure, but the country’s president has said he would veto it.

Brazil is also debating whether to legalize abortions.