Abortion is illegal in Argentina except in cases of rape or when the mother's life is in danger. Yet the country refused to allow an 11-year-old girl raped by a 65-year-old man to get an abortion, despite a doctor's declaration that she faced "high obstetric risk" should the pregnancy continue. She gave birth Tuesday via caesarean section; the baby, born at just 23 weeks' gestation, is not expected to survive, the Guardian reports. The girl, who had been placed under her grandmother's care in 2015, was impregnated by her grandmother's partner. She learned she was pregnant Jan. 23; a week later, after two suicide attempts, she was admitted to a hospital and placed in state care. After a court order was issued that "immediate action" be taken, health authorities decided Tuesday the C-section must be performed. The Telegraph explains that the procedure to be granted an abortion suffered several delays, as often happens in Argentina until the legal window to get an abortion has passed.
In denying the girl an abortion, the province's health secretary argued that she did not want the procedure, despite activists who had access to court proceedings and insist that both the child and her mother made multiple requests to be allowed one. Women's rights activists have compared the girl's situation to torture, with one of the doctors who performed the C-section saying, "For electoral reasons they [the authorities] prevented the legal interruption of the pregnancy and forced the little girl to give birth. My legs trembled when I saw her ... The little girl didn’t understand completely what was going to happen." But those on the other side were outraged that their motto, "Save both lives," was not adhered to; they said the C-section should have been delayed 20 more days to give the baby a higher chance of survival. (Rape victim who gave birth was then charged with attempted murder.)