Monday, October 14, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 22-05-2019 01:19

Doctor found guilty of impeding abortion faces 2 years in jail for misconduct

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 gynaecologist in southern Río Negro province was found guilty on Tuesday of misconduct for failing to carry out a legally-warranted abortion on a woman who had been raped.

Leandro Rodríguez Last faces two years in jail after Judge Álvaro Meynet ruled him guilty of misconduct in a Cipoletti court in Río Negro province, a city which borders one of the Patagonia's largest cities, Neuquén.

Judge Meynet will sentence the doctor in the coming days, court officials confirmed.

"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.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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