Pro-lifers say ‘therapeutic’ abortion on minor in Peru exploited to push legal abortion


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ACI Prensa Staff, Sep 26, 2023 / 18:50 pm (CNA).

After getting approval from the medical board of the National Maternal Perinatal Institute of Lima (INMP), a “therapeutic” abortion was performed on a girl under 11 years of age who became pregnant as a result of alleged abuse committed by her stepfather in the Áncash region of northern Peru.

The case, which is very similar to another that occurred in August, has created a great deal of controversy. Carlos Polo, director of the Latin American Office of the Population Research Institute, believes that abortion organizations are using situations like these to push for legalized abortion in Peru.

“It is no coincidence that several cases with the same characteristics come up in a short period of time and they all end up in the same place [the INMP] and in the same way,” Polo told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “This leads us to think that these cases of ‘express abortion’ are not isolated events. They are the tactic of a plan to expand the ‘therapeutic’ abortion protocol to cases of rape, abortion for minors, congenital fetal deformities, and mental health.”

Although abortion remains a crime, Article 119 of the Penal Code states that “it is not punishable” when “it is the only means to save the life of the pregnant woman or to avoid serious and permanent harm to her health.” Likewise, in 2014 the executive branch approved the guide for doing therapeutic abortions, which allows the procedure up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

“Currently this protocol is governed by the objective need for medical care in an obstetric emergency in which there is no other means to save life or avoid serious and permanent harm to the mother. But for abortion organizations, the objective is for abortion to be legal due to a woman’s simple desire to continue the pregnancy or terminate it,” Polo maintained.

The girl, who was 22 weeks pregnant, had health problems so she was transferred to Lima to receive health care. According to medical reports, she is in a stable condition after the abortion, which took place during the early hours of Sept. 20.

As for the alleged person responsible for the systematic sexual abuse, Roy Cruz Lozano has been held for the last nine months in preventive detention in the city of Huaraz while the prosecution’s investigation continues.

In August, a similar case created a controversy when the National Maternal Perinatal Institute also approved the “therapeutic” abortion of a minor (nicknamed “Mila” to keep her name confidential), who was 18 weeks pregnant after being raped, despite the fact that the first medical board to review her case determined that an abortion was not necessary.

The argument given by a second medical board for overruling the initial decision was: “To avoid serious or permanent harm to her physical and mental health.”

Since the case of the girl from Áncash became known, the media, activists, nongovernmental organizations, and the United Nations itself have pressured the Peruvian government to have the abortion done.

According to Polo, “none of these cases meet any grounds currently established in the therapeutic abortion protocol but rather are grounds that they want to introduce.”

“If the INMP doctors were so sure that they were doing the right and legal thing, they would have no reason to be hiding information about the medical condition of these girls,” the director for the Population Research Institute pointed out.

On Aug. 14, the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference expressed its strong rejection of the decision to approve Mila’s “therapeutic” abortion and called for the lives of both the mother and the child to be protected.

“Let us remember that in a pregnancy due to rape there are three people: the rapist, the victim, and an innocent person. In this case, an innocent  person has been sentenced to death, the victim has been exposed to greater harm, and the criminal has been set free. An evil, in this case, a direct abortion, cannot be justified to supposedly obtain the well-being of another person,” the Peruvian bishops said at that time.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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