Monday, October 29, 2007
Argentina: Recent Court Decision on Abortion
Thanks to Martin Hevia, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Escuela de Derecho, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella at Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the following summary:
ARGENTINA: NEW M.F.C. ABORTION DECISION
In a recent decision based on Section 86 of the Argentine Criminal
Code which states that abortion is not punishable when the pregnancy is
due to rape or when the health of the pregnant woman is at stake-- the
Supreme Court of the Province of Entre Ríos allowed M.F.C., a 19-year old
girl who had been raped, to get an abortion.
The right to have the abortion had been denied by the inferior court. The
Court of Appeals then rejected the decision of the lower courts and granted
the abortion. The biological father of the girl, though, who had not been
in touch with his daughter for the last 16 years, appealed the decision of
the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Entre Ríos denied the petition
and upheld the constitutionality of Section 86. It also made it clear that
no judicial authorization is needed in order to perform non-punishable
abortions. According to a local newspaper, the lawyer of the biological
father of “M. F. C.” announced the intention to appeal the decision to the
Supreme Court of Argentina.
The case is interesting for the following reason: a medical committee at
the Hospital Materno Infantil San Roque concluded that the hospital should
not perform the abortion because the health of the mother would be at risk.
However, according to a local newspaper, physicians had alleged
conscientious objection. The Health Minister of the Province of Entre Ríos
said that the Province would guarantee the practice of the abortion.
However, due to shortage of time, the therapeutic abortion was finally
performed in the Province of Buenos Aires where a protocol regulating
non-punishable abortions had been passed with the support of the National
The Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires confirmed that the physicians
that performed the abortion were threatened and that there was other
evidence of intolerance from some groups.
The case is not yet available online.
Here are some links to Spanish reports in local newspapers: