Rape victim gets abortions after judge blocks her from ending pregnancy

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Rape victim gets abortions after judge blocks her from ending pregnancy

BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazilian prosecutors said on Thursday that an 11-year-old girl had received a legal abortion after a judge blocked her for weeks from ending her pregnancy after she was raped.

Federal prosecutors in the state of Santa Catarina said in a statement that the hospital of Polydoro Ernani de S o Thiago had taken measures to interrupt the minor's pregnancy after a formal request on behalf of the girl's family.

The hospital said in a statement that it could not comment on the case because it is under the secrecy of Brazil's judiciary system.

The doctor had earlier refused to perform the procedure because she was in her 22nd week of pregnancy.

Some anti-abortion activists argue that the recommendations of the Health Ministry urge a 20 to 22 week limit on the procedure. Daniela Flix, a lawyer for the family of the child, said Brazilian law does not mention a limit in the case of rape victims or when a woman's life is in danger.

The 11-year-old, who was 10 when she was raped, was in her 29th week when the abortion was finally carried Wednesday night, amid outrage against judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer for her actions in the case.

Brazil's judicial watchdog agency said earlier this week that Zimmer would be investigated for asking the child at a filmed hearing on May 9 whether she understood how pregnancies happen, and suggesting the girl hold on a little more to save the fetus.

The girl said she did not want to give birth.

Brazilian law allows abortions in three cases: rape, risk to the mother's life and cases of anencephaly, in which a fetus has no functioning brain.

The case has spurred a debate between supporters of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and those of the leftist former President Luiz In cio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro, who is in a bid to re-elect against da Silva, tweeted after news of the girl's abortion emerged: A baby of a seven month pregnancy. We don't discuss the way in which it was conceived, whether the law allows it or not. It is inadmissible to take the life of this defenseless being! He wrote.

In April, Da Silva said anyone should be allowed to have an abortion but within a few days he pulled back, saying he opposes abortions but he believes that women should be given the choice as a matter of public health.

The case, reported by the website The Intercept Brasil last week, prompted associations of magistrates and human rights groups to ask that Zimmer be removed from her post.

Zimmer said in a statement Wednesday that she will not speak about parts of the hearing that were illegally leaked. She said she will not say anything about the case to ensure the full protection of the child. The probe on Zimmer's methods will be conducted by the same Santa Catarina court system in southern Brazil and the decision will be referred to her own court in southern Brazil and then taken to the national watchdog to make its final decision.