NewsMon Oct 1, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Constitutional Struggle in Argentina Ends in Death for Unborn Child
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
ARGENTINA, October 1, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A recent constitutional struggle over the right to life in Argentina has ended in death for the unborn child of a retarded woman in the province of Mar de Plata, where doctors performed the procedure in secret, despite warnings that it threatened the health of the mother.
The woman, referred to by the Argentine press by her initials, "MFC", to protect her identity, had been impregnated by a relative, and her fetus was four months old.
The struggle to save the unborn child’s life made headlines when a judge in MFC’s hometown of Parana ruled against her mother’s request for an abortion, citing the right to life of the fetus, which is protected under Argentina’s constitution. The ruling was overturned on appeal, and angry political activists threatened to initiate procedures against the judge (see recent LifeSiteNews coverage at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/sep/07091701.html).
Although Argentina’s constitution acknowledges the right to life from conception, existing penal law does not provide punishments for certain abortions, including those carried out on mentally retarded women. The appeals court used the exemption to justify its decision, claiming that the courts had no jurisdiction in the case, and asserting limits to the right to life. MFC’s estranged father, who had offered his government medical insurance for the pregnancy, was planning more appeals when the abortion occurred.
After the Supreme Tribunal of the province of Entre Rios issued a final ruling supporting the lower court’s overturn, a team of 16 doctors at San Roque Hospital examined the woman, and determined that an abortion would be risky and "medically unnecessary", especially given the advanced state of her pregnancy. The hospital’s medical team refused to carry out the abortion, and cited their position as a matter of "conscience".
"Medically it would be an mistake since it takes a patient in a good state of health and removes that state, which is an anti-medical position," said Hugo Cati, the head of Maternity Services at the hospital. "We had a meeting and concluded that there are risks due to the size of the pregnancy," he said, and concluded: "We recommend that the pregnancy not be interrupted."
It was at that point, however, that Argentina’s pro-abortion health minister, Gines Gonzalez Garcia, intervened, providing free air transportation for the woman and her mother to the city of Mar de Plata, where an anonymous group of doctors at an unnamed location carried out the abortion on September 23.
Gonzalez Garcia had complained about the delays in securing the abortion, stating that "it’s incredible to me that such things happen, that lawyers and judges intervene, that the parents and doctors are pressured, that the process is slowed to gain time."
The archbishop of the city of Plata blasted Gonzalez Garcia, accusing him of having added "another merit badge to his record of promoting the culture of death," and warning that "the totalitarianism of the abortionists is hanging over Argentina like a sinister threat."
Embassy of Argentina in the USA
1600 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20009-2512
Phone (202) 238-6401
Fax (202) 332-3171a
Embassy of Argentina in Canada
81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 700
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6K7
Fax (613) 235-2659
Argentine Embassies in Other Countries
See Previous LifeSiteNews.com Coverage:
Pro-Life Ruling Overturned—Grandparent Fights for Life of Mentally Disabled Daughter’s Unborn Child
Pro-Abortion Groups Seek Proceedings Against Pro-Life Judge in Argentina
Two Latin American Babies Saved from Abortion by their Governments
Argentina Doctors to Government: You can’t Expect Us to Start Practicing Abortion
Argentina Judge Stops Abortion for Mentally Disabled Woman