Imagine the unthinkable: A 13-year-old girl in Peru loses her father, and while still grieving his death is raped by a man close to her family. She realizes she’s pregnant, climbs to the roof of a local building, and jumps. The fall doesn’t kill her, but leaves her with a paralyzing spinal injury. Doctors say an operation could restore her ability to walk, but upon realizing she’s pregnant, they insist they cannot help as the procedure could endanger the fetus. In Peru, abortion is illegal except in case of threat to the life or health of the woman. Even so, when her parents appeal for a therapeutic abortion, the doctors put their own beliefs above the law and refuse.
Together with IWHC partner The Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (PROMSEX), CRR has represented L.C. in filing a petition for increased access to therapeutic abortion. Much more work remains to be done, but thanks to this work and other efforts by CRR and PROMSEX, therapeutic abortions have become more commonly granted to Peruvian women.
The video is hard to watch, but worth it. Afterall, it’s brave voices like L.C.’s that will finally help us secure a just and healthy life for all women and girls.