BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, March 14, 2012 ( – Argentina’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a mother has the legal right to abort her baby if it was conceived through rape.

“In these cases, doctors will no longer need a court approval. They will just need a statement from the victim or her lawyer testifying that she became pregnant as a result of being raped,” the court ruled unanimously, backing a decision by the Superior Court in the province of Chubut.


Prior to this, abortion was illegal in the largely Catholic country unless the mother was judged to be mentally ill or if the mother’s life was at risk.

Yesterday’s ruling interpreted an ambiguous section of the country’s penal code (Section 2, Article 86) where it states that abortion is not a punishable act “if the pregnancy stems from a rape or an attack on the modesty of a woman of feeble mind.” The judges have interpreted this passage to now mean that a woman does not have to be of feeble mind to seek an abortion after she has been raped.

The judges have reportedly said that their ruling had nothing to do with the current push from pro-abortion activists to legalize abortion in Argentina, but that it was simply a clarification of existing laws. A ruling from the country’s Supreme Court cannot be appealed.

Supreme Court president Ricardo Lorenzetti went as far as saying that the ruling “would not open the way” towards legalizing abortion on demand.

Monsignor Jose Maria Arancedo, head of Argentina’s bishops conference, told CNN that the lives of the innocent lost out in the ruling.

“Abortion is the suppression of an innocent life, and there does not exist any motive or reason that justifies the elimination of an innocent life, not even the unfortunate case of a rape,” he said.

Roberto Castaneda, a member of an Argentina pro-life group, told CNN that the ruling does not change the fact that rape victims have other options besides abortion.

“A woman who has difficulties must have assistance. Legal, medical, psychological assistance. We have to promote the adoption system. There are thousands of couples in Argentine without children and who can’t have children. It is a much more humane situation than killing,” he said.


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