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ARGENTINA | 25-06-2019 19:10

Convicted anti-abortion doctor confirms congressional run

Leandro Rodríguez Lastra was found guilty last month of misconduct by a Cipoletti court for failing to carry out a legally-warranted abortion on a woman who had been raped.

A gynaecologist found guilty and awaiting sentencing for misconduct for failing to carry out a legally-warranted abortion on a woman who had been raped will run as a candidate for a Christian political party in this year's general elections.

Leandro Rodríguez Lastra will compete as the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) candidate for Argentina's national Congress representing Buenos Aires City. He joins the so-called "blue ballot" in reference to the blue flag associated to the anti-abortion movement. 

"Leandro is representative of one of the most essential issues in the construction of a blue city in favour of life and family, which we're pushing as our agenda. He's a stalwart of our cause", the president of the PDC's City branch, Carlos Traboulsi, told Perfil.

Lastra was born in the capital but moved to southern Río Negro province, where he was charged and found guilty last month of misconduct by a Cipoletti court.

"I'm upset about the ruling. The case does not end here. I will continue fighting for the truth. It is an adverse ruling. I am convinced of my innocence", he told La Mañana de Cipoletti, a local newspaper.

The case is symbolic given it has played out in court, and in the public, for the most part of Argentina's ongoing debate about the decriminalisation of abortion. A bill to the same effect failed to pass the Senate in August last year after successful passage through the Lower House.


The woman in question, whose identity remains unknown, sought treatment in the Fernández Oro Hospital in Cipoletti in January, 2017, requesting an abortion on the grounds she had been raped.

Hospital staff gave her an appointment to have a medical test in March, despite her request for an abortion, the court heard. 

She then presented in emergency, where Dr. Rodríguez Lastra attended her in his capacity as head of gynaecology.

The doctor allegedly treated the patient with medication to reverse the effects of the abortive drugs she had received from NGO.

"Hours passed and they did nothing", the woman told the press, while keeping her identity under wraps.

The woman was forced to carry through with the pregnancy.

"I would send them (the doctors) letters because I felt they were not listening to me when I spoke. I wrote to everyone at the hospital who came near me", she added.

A social worker at Pedro Moguillansky hospital, Analía Calvo, told the court that medical professionals in the city were aware of the woman's rape.

"She was always in a good state of mind and stayed true to her decision always", a psychologist, Paula Salto, told the court.

Abortion until the 20th week of gestation is legal in Río Negro when a pregnant woman is found to have been raped.


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