Outrage in Brazil as judge bans pregnant 11-year-old rape victim from having an abortion

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A judge in Brazil has banned an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped from having an abortion, prompting widespread outrage. 

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Joana Ribeiro Zimmer is now being investigated after it came to light yesterday that she refused to help the unnamed girl who was raped in her family home in southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state.

The girl, who has not been named, was raped earlier this year, and was accompanied by her mother to a doctor in Florianopolis when she was 22 week pregant. 

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A medic refused to perform the abortion, saying they could only perform an abortion on someone up to 20 weeks, and that they needed a court order. 

It was then that the case reached Judge Zimmer who said if the mother want to protect her daughter she would not ‘submit her to homicide’. 

There are no other details regarding the rape of the girl who is now in her 29th week of pregnancy or the father of her foetus. 

Abortion is illegal in Brazil and can mean jail time except in cases when the victim is raped and there is a risk to the life of the mother. 

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Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer (pictured), holder of the District of Tijucas, , is now being investigated, after it came to light yesterday that she refused to help the unnamed girl who was raped in her family home in southern Brazil's Santa Catarina state

Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer (pictured), holder of the District of Tijucas, , is now being investigated, after it came to light yesterday that she refused to help the unnamed girl who was raped in her family home in southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state

The girl, accompanied by her mother, was seen by a doctor on May 4 at the Polydoro Ernani de São Thiago University Hospital, the Intercept reported. 

The medic allegedly refused to perform an abortion on her after determining that she was over 22 weeks pregnant, with the hospital’s in-house rules stating that they could only perform an abortion on someone up to 20 weeks and that they needed a court order.

The case was referred to the judge, who reportedly refused to grant the 11-year-old rape victim permission to have the abortion.

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Judge Zimmer was recorded in a leak video telling the court of Santa Catarina that if she had granted the girl an abortion, her mother would not have been ‘protecting her daughter’ and would instead have been ‘subjecting her to a homicide’.

The girl was reportedly kept in a shelter for women, to protect her from her aggressor. 

Her mother, unnamed, reportedly said that if she had not been taken to the shelter, she would have performed the abortion on her daughter herself.

While abortion is largely illegal in Brazil, with pregnant women who have abortions risking one to three years in prison and doctors who perform them risking up to four years behind bars. 

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But abortions are legal when the victim was raped and when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother.

After a medic refused to perform the abortion, it was taken to Judge Zimmer who said if the mother want to protect her daughter she would not 'submit her to homicide'

After a medic refused to perform the abortion, it was taken to Judge Zimmer who said if the mother want to protect her daughter she would not ‘submit her to homicide’

The girl, accompanied by her mother, was seen by a doctor on May 4 at the Polydoro Ernani de São Thiago University Hospital

The girl, accompanied by her mother, was seen by a doctor on May 4 at the Polydoro Ernani de São Thiago University Hospital

The Court of Justice of Santa Catarina has since said that its Internal Affairs Office is now looking into Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer for allegedly stopping an 11-year-old rape victim from having a legal abortion.

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The case has attracted widespread criticism in the largely Catholic country, with experts quoted in local media as saying that there is no legal basis for the situation, neither regarding the stance that the hospital adopted, nor for the judge’s decision.

The Court said in a statement that they had ‘initiated a request for measures in the administrative sphere for the proper investigation of the facts’.

The IPAS organisation, which campaigns for abortion rights in Brazil, says: ‘Because Brazilian law only permits abortion in cases of rape, foetal anencephaly, or risk to life, in 2012 the country’s Ministry of Health reported only 1,626 legal abortions in a nation with 203 million people.

‘However, an estimated one million Brazilian women have abortions every year. Many of those women, particularly those without the financial or social resources to see a well-trained, willing provider, run a huge legal risk when they decide to end an unwanted pregnancy.

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‘The physical consequences can also be devastating.’ The case is ongoing.

Last week, the premature baby of a 12-year-old Bolivian girl who was allegedly raped by her grandfather died after the girl from Chimore, Cochabamba (pictured) was denied an abortion

Last week, the premature baby of a 12-year-old Bolivian girl who was allegedly raped by her grandfather died after the girl from Chimore, Cochabamba (pictured) was denied an abortion

Under Bolivian law, abortion is legal for rape and incest victims, but the procedure can only be undertaken up to the 22nd week of pregnancy

Under Bolivian law, abortion is legal for rape and incest victims, but the procedure can only be undertaken up to the 22nd week of pregnancy

Last week, the premature baby of a 12-year-old Bolivian girl who was allegedly raped by her grandfather died after the girl was denied an abortion.

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Under Bolivian law, abortion is legal for rape and incest victims, but the procedure can only be undertaken up to the 22nd week of pregnancy.

The pregnant girl had begged to be allowed to terminate the shocking pregnancy, but she had been told she was too late.

Medics at the German Urquidi Maternal and Child Hospital in Cochabamba had denied her pleas because she was six months pregnant at the time.

The hospital’s refusal to terminate the young girl’s pregnancy shocked Bolivia, with many calling for reform of the country’s abortion laws.

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The infant was delivered by C-section in the 29th week of the pregnancy. The premature newborn’s health was delicate and it was placed in an incubator but died.

The girl was reportedly raped by her grandfather in Senda F, in the municipality of Chimore.

It transpired that the elderly man, a farmer, had allegedly raped his granddaughter many times before she fell pregnant.

He is now being held in pre-trial custody at San Pedro de Sacaba prison.

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The names of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator were not given in local reports.

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