A judge in Brazil has banned an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped from having an abortion, provoking widespread outrage.
Joana Ribeiro Zimmer is now being investigated after it came to light that she refused to help the nameless girl who was raped in her family home in southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state.
The girl was raped earlier this year and was accompanied by her mother to a doctor in Florianopolis when she was 22 weeks pregnant.
A doctor refused to perform the abortion, saying they could only conduct abortion on someone up to 20 weeks, and that they needed a court order.
It was then that the matter reached Judge Zimmer who reportedly told the court if the mother wanted to protect her daughter she would not submit her to homicide.
There are no other details concerning the rape of the girl who’s now in her 29th week of pregnancy or the aggressor.
Abortion is illegal in Brazil and can mean prison time except in circumstances when the victim is raped and there’s a danger to the life of the mother.
The Intercept reported that the girl, accompanied by her mother, was seen by a doctor on May 4 at the Polydoro Ernani de São Thiago University Hospital.
They then told the psychologist at the hospital that they didn’t want to keep the pregnancy.
Two days later, prosecutor Mirela Dutra Alberton, from the Santa Catarina Public Ministry, petitioned the court to take her into a shelter.
The prosecutor in court papers said that pregnancy was a high risk, demonstrating that a child at a young age didn’t have a biological structure in the formative stage suitable for pregnancy.
Then when the matter reached the Santa Catarina court, Judge Zimmer sent the girl to a refuge for women, to protect her from her assailant.
Her mother, unnamed, reportedly said that if she’d not been taken to the refuge, she would have performed the abortion on her daughter herself.
The judge also told the mother if she’d granted the girl an abortion that she wouldn’t be protecting her daughter and would instead have been subjecting her to homicide.
The Court of Justice of Santa Catarina has since said that its Internal Affairs Office is now looking into Judge Zimmer’s ruling.
The matter has enticed across-the-board fuss in the predominantly Catholic nation, with professionals cited in local media as saying that there’s no legal basis for the case, neither regarding the stance that the hospital adopted, nor for the judge’s conclusion.
Did the judge have any idea what it would be like forcing an 11-year-old child to give birth like this? The dangers to her would be enormous, not only physically but mentally as well.
This is totally despicable and some people just don’t have any compassion. What if it was the judge’s daughter? Would she let her own daughter go through that physical and mental harm?
This is sickening that an 11-year-old child has been raped in her own home and the judge won’t help her. Envision telling the mother of a child that she wasn’t protecting her daughter by getting an abortion. This poor child has already been damaged psychologically by being raped in the first place, but now the judge wants her to be psychologically damaged by not having an abortion.
It shouldn’t matter if this child was 12 weeks pregnant or 30 weeks pregnant, she’s been raped. She didn’t ask to be raped and it was done against her will. She is a child and would not be able to cope with the responsibility, and she probably didn’t come forward because she likely didn’t know what pregnancy was, either that, or she concealed the fact because she was ashamed and didn’t know what was going on.
She is the victim here. Yet people are blaming her and not the attacker who hasn’t been named and shamed yet.
Does anyone remember what it was like being 11 years old? What would you do if you’d been raped and then found out you were pregnant, you would have been terrified and you definitely wouldn’t have wanted to tell your mother or parents.
This will leave an enduring scar on this child forever, and if she is made to have the baby, that baby will be a reminder to her every day of what happened to her and to know that she was made to have a baby that she didn’t want.