Argentina OKs Abortions for Rape Victims

Judge's permission no longer needed, supreme court rules
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2012 3:24 AM CDT
Women protesting Argentina's abortion laws march to the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Argentina's highest court has decided the country should stop prosecuting rape victims who have abortions. The court, ruling on the case of a 15-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather, decided that a 1922 law saying abortion shouldn't be punished if the "pregnancy stems from a rape or an attack on the modesty of a demented or idiot woman" applied to all rape victims, not just mentally handicapped ones, the Financial Times reports.

The court—which stressed that it was not easing the country's rape laws, but merely clarifying a murky clause in an existing law—decided that in the future, rape victims seeking abortions should not have to receive a judge's permission first. Catholic authorities condemned the ruling, saying abortions are wrong even in the case of rape. An estimated 500,000 illegal abortions are carried out in Argentina every year, notes the BBC.

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