A 10-year-old rape victim in Brazil only realized she was pregnant after 22 weeks. The Washington Post reported.
Her family took her to a hospital for an abortion who refused to operate because the 20 weeks were up.
The case went to a judge who then tried to convince the girl to stay pregnant.
A Brazilian judge tried to convince an 11-year-old rape victim not to have an abortion and ordered her removed from her family to prevent an abortion. The Washington Post reported.
Audio of the hearing has been leaked and released by independent news agency intercept Brazil last month, sparking outrage across Brazil, where abortion is legal in rape cases.
According to Intercept Brasil, the girl’s mother took her to the hospital 2 days after realizing she was pregnant. She was 22 weeks and two days pregnant and the hospital had a policy of only performing abortions up to 20 weeks. In Brazil, there is no time limit on when a rape victim can have an abortion.
The case was then taken to a judge, Intercept reported. The judge and a prosecutor tried to pressure the girl into completing her pregnancy and possibly giving the child up for adoption, the Intercept said. The judge ordered the girl to be removed from her family and initially placed in a shelter while authorities investigate abuse, but the measure was ordered to prevent the girl from undergoing a legal abortion, according to the Intercept.
The judge sent false information to the girl and her family to pressure her to continue with the pregnancy, the Post reported.
“In terms of the little baby, do you understand that if we interrupt the pregnancy, the baby is born and we have to wait for the baby to die?” Zimmer incorrectly said, according to the Post. ‘Can you understand that? That it is an immense cruelty? That the baby will be born and cry until it dies?’
At a hearing in May, Brazilian judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer asked the girl, then 10, if she could hold out being pregnant “just a little while longer?” the Intercept reported, citing the leaked audio.
Supporters told the Post that the incident showed how difficult it is for women to have abortions, even in cases where it is legal to do so. Human Rights Watch reported that in Brazil abortions are legal in cases of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in danger. In those cases, an abortion can be performed at any time during the pregnancy.
“What we’re seeing in Brazil and in other countries in Latin America where abortion is a crime, barriers have been created on top of the law that make it more difficult to access care,” Debora Diniz, an anthropologist at the University of Brasilia who studies abortion studies law told the Post. “And the most vulnerable people, the most vulnerable, are the most affected.”
The Washington Post reported that the girl finally had an abortion on June 23, more than a month after she initially requested the procedure. The federal prosecutor’s office ordered the hospital to perform the operation. The Associated Press reported that Brazil’s judicial watchdog is investigating Zimmer following the incident. More than 300,000 people have a petition to get her off the couch.
Experts like Diniz told the Post that the incident could be a harbinger of what could happen in the US after the Supreme Court destroyed Roe v. Wade†
“When there’s a state of judicial uncertainty, like we’re seeing now in the United States, where each state sets its own policies, that uncertainty creates a space ripe for misinformation and fear,” Diniz said.
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