A therapeutic abortion was denied to the minor on Aug. 4 by a medical board at the Loreto Regional Hospital, rejecting the request that had been sent to it by the Loreto Special Protection Unit of the MIMP.
In addition to the Ministry of Women, the United Nations had urged the Peruvian state to reconsider the application of this practice. Peruvian feminist organizations that promote the legalization of abortion have also joined the request.
Carlos Polo, director of the Population Research Institute’s office for Latin America, told ACI Prensa in an Aug. 10 interview that today “they’re concerned about Mila because there is a lobby that wants its abortion law.”
“Once the abortion law is obtained, they will forget about girls like Mila,” he said.
Muñante agreed that international organizations and NGOs “are trying to get Peru to use the concept of therapeutic abortion as a kind of ‘showcase’ for all cases of abortion that they want to be legalized. For example, if the mental or emotional or social health of the woman is affected, they now intend to perform therapeutic abortions.”
“Let’s remember that therapeutic abortion in our country, although it is true is decriminalized, is only used for serious cases of grave harm to the health or life of the mother,” the congressman explained.
Abortion is illegal in Peru and is considered a crime that deserves to be punished. However, since 1924, therapeutic abortion is a crime that “is not punishable” — that is, it doesn’t carry a prison sentence. According to article 119 of the penal code, for abortion to be nonpunishable, it must be the only means to save the life of the pregnant woman or to avoid serious and permanent harm to her health.
In this regard, Polo stated that “from a medical point of view, as long as both lives can be saved, Mila’s case does not conform to the therapeutic abortion protocol.”
He also explained that “obviously in the case of Mila, there are other means to ensure her life and health.”
“The two medical boards required by the protocol should indicate the reason why the only means should be abortion and affirm that there is no other alternative,” he said.
Muñante pointed out that in the examination and deliberation of the medical board “there is no room for public opinion or that of a journalist, a judge, or a prosecutor” but rather that the group of specialists forms “the highest authoritative deliberative body in terms of performing an abortion or not.”
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“Obviously, no one would want a family member to go through that, but when we are faced with a case of this nature, we’re no longer talking about a single life, but two lives, and the state has to try to safeguard both,” the parliamentarian said.
“What a therapeutic abortion really means is becoming blurred,” he stressed.
Defending both lives
Polo of the Population Research Institute for Latin America emphasized that “abortion is not a right.”
“Abortion will kill a healthy child already conceived, who has a constitutionally recognized right to life. He cannot be discriminated against and killed because of the way he was conceived, since he is not to blame for his father’s crimes,” he said.
Muñante also pointed out that, after the tragedy of the rape of the minor, “there are two children to save and attend to.”