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Lucia, 11, symbol of illegal IVG in Argentina

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Demonstration in favor of the legalization of abortion on May 28, 2019 before the National Congress in Buenos Aires. EMILIANO LASALVIA / AFP

Cecilia Ousset does not take off. "A child has been tortured. And we, the only ones to have helped it, we risk the prison. AT" This Catholic gynecologist from Tucuman, 1,000 km northwest of Buenos Aires, is being prosecuted for killing the child in question, Lucia (the name has been changed). ), who claimed an abortion.

The story of the girl, who was 11 years old after being raped by her grandmother's mate, sparked international outrage in February. It illustrates the difficulties faced by women in certain regions of Argentina in accessing a "legal interruption of pregnancy" (ILG), that is, say in very rare cases allowed by the current law (to differ from the abortion, the abortion).

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Lucia comes from a village of 500 inhabitants on the borders of the province of Tucuman, one of the poorest in the country. At the discovery of her pregnancy, very late, the little girl asks only one thing: what is it "Take away what the old [lui] put in. " She says it to her mother. She told the police at the time of the rape complaint, on February 11th. She tells the psychologist at the Eva-Peron Hospital in the provincial capital, San Miguel de Tucuman, who, seeing her self-inflicted wounds and her suicidal tendencies, orders her hospitalization.

The 1921 law allows for abortion in case of rape or danger to the health of the pregnant woman. According to the World Health Organization, a child under 14 is four times more likely to die of pregnancy than an adult. But, in a report, twelve doctors in the province report that with proper controls the risks of Lucia's twenty-week pregnancy complications are not higher than for the population in general. On the other hand, they assure, it risks losing the uterus in case of abortion or cesarean, or even the life.

Constant pressure

The Lucia case fits into the very particular context of Tucuman: a small province (1.6 million inhabitants) where the notables work in a network, and who still lives under the influence of an all-powerful Church. Religious images are everywhere. At the Eva-Peron Hospital, a picture of Jesus and a statue of the Virgin greet the patients. The churches are crowded every night. Religious classes are compulsory in public schools. In 2018, the local parliament declared Tucuman "province provie", which has no legal value, but "Is a way of disciplining people," said Soledad Deza, a lawyer and a feminist activist. Here, every year, 135 girls under the age of 15 become mothers. It is also in this province that Belén, a 26-year-old woman, was sentenced to eight years in jail for homicide, even though she had a miscarriage. was acquitted after three years of confinement.