Father has right to stop abortion, South American judge rules
March 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A local family judge in Uruguay has ruled in favor of a dad who wanted to prevent the mother of his child from aborting the baby.
The legal battle began after the father of the child filed suit to assert his parental rights. In response, Judge Pura Book issued a protective order to prevent the abortion, protect the right to life of the child, and refer the case to the Constitutional Court for expedited adjudication.
The 24-year-old woman seeking to abort her 10-week-old child is currently employed at a government "health" clinic that provides abortions under the new abortion law. She alleged that while she is employed and has no health problems, she did not want to have a child and felt it was her right to an abortion.
The father, who is not married and not in a relationship with the mother, argued that he has the means and would be willing to exercise sole custody and maintenance of the child as soon as possible.
To complicate matters further, the woman has since announced that she suffered a miscarriage and blamed it on the stress brought upon her by the litigation.
Lawyers for the father voiced suspicion that the woman might have taken the life of the child on her own, but attorneys for the mother assert that they have provided medical evidence that child perished as a result of a miscarriage. No investigation has been ordered.
It is unclear whether the case will continue in the constitutional court, although pro-abortion and pro-life legal scholars have argued that the issue of paternal parental rights have to be clarified.
Through Twitter, Leonel Briozzo, the minister of health under President Jose Mujica and the man responsible for coordinating the legalization of abortion, accused Judge Book of "an inexcusable error: allowing her religious, ideological, and political convictions to prevail over the rule of law."
Briozzo, who was not reappointed to his post by the current president, was nonetheless given a lucrative ($10,000 USD per month) contract by the now Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, who himself has been promoting abortion in Latin America through his position.
In 2012, Uruguay became the first country outside of Marxist Cuba to legalize abortion on demand throughout the first trimester. The legalization of abortion was the culmination of repeated attempts to legalize abortion by radical feminists inside the highly secularized South American nation.
For years, the far left failed to convince the majority of congressmen to pass such a law, but their persistence was rewarded when Mujica, a leftist guerrilla fighter, assumed office and vigorously pushed for the passage of the abortion law. After a hard-fought battle, the definitive vote was cast during the middle of the night in July 2012.
Local pro-lifers kept fighting the new law and in 2013 organized a referendum to revoke the abortion law. Nevertheless, the government was able to manipulate the referendum and prevented it from achieving the necessary votes.
In 2008, the prior administration led by medical doctor turned president, Tabare Vazquez, had vetoed a similar abortion law. Along with his veto in 2008, President Vazquez published a list of 15 reasons he vetoed the abortion law. This thesis set the groundwork for a book published by the University of Montevideo's law school expounding on each reason with an essay by some of the country's most renowned jurists, including a retired supreme court justice. The book (in Spanish only) can be accessed here.
The ruling of Judge Book concurs with the the ex-president's veto arguing that abortion violates Uruguay's international law obligations as well its national constitution.
Cardinal Daniel Sturla, the Archbishop of Montevideo who is one of the youngest cardinals named by Pope Francis, voiced his support for the ruling, stating that "the abortion law did not take into consideration the rights of the father, and I believe that his opinion should also be taken into account. But beyond that, I believe that the fundamental right that the abortion law violates is the right of the child to be born."
Key to the ruling of Judge Book is the concept of Personhood embodied in the American Convention on Human Rights also known as the 1969 Pact of San Jose. That binding international treaty, signed and ratified by Uruguay states that all human beings have juridical personhood and also that the right to life has to be protected, in general, from the moment of conception. Also referenced in the ruling is the convention on the rights of the child, which charges countries with special protection of minors, often interpreted to include the preborn child.
Pro-abortion jurists such as Gianella Bardazano of the Universidad de la Republica law school responded to the ruling by stating that the protections of the right to life in these international treaties do not prohibit abortion.
However, other jurists such as Inter-American Court of Human Rights judge Vio Grossi have pointed out that those countries like Canada and the United States that allowed abortion in certain circumstances when the treaty was introduced understood that the treaty language clearly prohibited abortion as a violation of the right to life. Therefore, these treaties were never ratified, or only after emitting reservations regarding abortion.
Pro-abortion figures such as Briozzo are now pushing for the local judge to be removed from her position while pro-lifers are launching a campaign in support of the judge.