Argentinean court OKs abortion for rape

March 15, 2012 at 7:38 AM
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BUENOS AIRES, March 15 (UPI) -- Physicians performing abortions on rape victims would be exempt from prosecution, Argentina's Supreme Court ruled.

The unanimous ruling said a woman must complete a sworn statement about the crime to enable the doctor to perform the abortion without being penalized, Telam, the national news agency of Argentina, reported Wednesday.

Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti stressed the ruling does not legalize abortion, an issue under consideration by lawmakers.

The decision stemmed from the case of a 15-year-old girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather, a Chubut province police officer. The ruling confirmed a decision by the Chubut Province Supreme Tribunal.

The decision clarified a penal code provision stating a physician performing an abortion won't be punished "when the pregnancy is the result of a rape or an attack against modesty perpetrated on a disabled or insane woman," Telam said. Courts in different jurisdictions have disagreed on whether the exemption was only for the rape of a handicapped or mentally disabled woman, or whether it applies to any rape victim, as the Supreme Court ruled.

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