"She didn't understand." An 11-year-old girl has given birth, after she was denied an abortion.

Warning: This post features details of child sexual abuse that could be triggering for some readers.

An 11-year-old Argentinian girl who became pregnant after being raped by her grandmother’s partner has been forced to give birth as Argentine authorities denied her the abortion she was entitled to.

The girl, her mother and women’s rights activists repeatedly asked for an abortion, but authorities ignored their requests. On Tuesday, at 23 weeks gestation, the girl had to undergo a caesarean section.

The baby is not expected to survive.

According to a psychologist at the hospital, the girl said: “I want you to remove what the old man put inside me.”

The Guardian reported the move has been blamed on Argentina’s anti-choice strategy, which strongly holds onto its motto of “save both lives”.

While abortion is illegal in Argentina, it is allowed to be performed in cases of rape or when a woman’s life is at risk. In court, a doctor declared the girl faced “high obstetric risk” if her pregnancy was allowed to continue.

She became pregnant after being abused by the grandmother’s 65-year-old partner, who has since been arrested.

Women hold signs that read 'Girls, not mothers. State responsible' during a protest in Buenos Aires to demand court allow abortion for an 11 year-old who was raped by her 65 year old grandmother's partner. Image: AAP.

There were repeated delays as authorities struggled to identify the girl's legal guardian, according to the BBC.

The girl's mother had supported the abortion, but the girl had been placed in the care of her grandmother in 2015 so the mother's consent was not deemed enough.

The grandmother's guardianship had been stripped for living with the girl's rapist.

She discovered she was pregnant on 23 January at a first-aid centre in her hometown, in the conservative northern province of Tucumán. A week later she was admitted to hospital suffering self-inflicted wounds, but by the time guardianship issues had been sorted, she was 23 weeks pregnant.


Despite the girl's circumstances, Tucumán provinces health minister insisted she did not want an abortion - a claim activists say is not at all true.

Having delayed action until the girl was 23 weeks, health authorities decided this week to carry out a caesarean following a court order to take immediate action. Doctors decided an abortion was too risky.

Gynaecologist Cecilia Ousset, who was one of three doctors to carry out the caesarean, said they had "saved the life of an 11-year-old girl who was tortured for a month by the provincial health system".

She criticised authorities for treating the girl has a political pawn and said the child asked to listen to Christian music and play with dolls when they arrived at the operating room.

"For electoral reasons they prevented the legal interruption of the pregnancy and forced the little girl to give birth," she said.

"My legs trembled when I saw her, it was like seeing my younger daughter. The little girl didn’t understand completely what was going to happen."

She confirmed the girl was in good condition following the surgery, but did not think the baby would survive.

Mariana Carbajal, the journalist and feminist activist who originally broke the girl's story in Buenos Aires newspaper Página/12, tweeted: "Tucumán treated her like a receptacle, like an incubator."

Tucumán’s archbishop, Carlos Sánchez, recorded a message on Wednesday revealing the girl's name and calling on Christians to "defend all human life".

The "save both lives" motto was mentioned in an official statement from the state government.

Abortion in Argentina remained illegal after an attempt to legalise the procedure narrowly lost a senate vote last year. Women who undergo an abortion can face up to four years in prison.

As we know, strict abortion law and a lack of access to safe abortions does not stop them happening - it just pushes women to more dangerous procedures.

The Guardian reported an average of one abortion is performed every 90 seconds in Argentina - with as many as 450,000 unsafe, illegal procedures carried out each year.

If this post brings up any issues for you, you can contact Bravehearts (an organisation providing support to victims of child abuse) on 1800 272 831. 

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child you can get advice from the Child Abuse Protection Hotline by calling 1800 688 009, or visiting their website. You can also call the 24- hour Child Abuse Report Line (131 478).

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