Argentinean Court upholds prison sentence for doctor who refused to abort baby at 23 weeks

By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Editor’s note. This story from a year ago illustrates perfectly the extent to which authorities will attempt to force pro-life doctors to perform abortions.

An Argentinean appeal court has upheld a 14-month prison sentence for a doctor who refused to perform an abortion on an unborn baby at 23 weeks gestation. John Deighan, SPUC Deputy Chief Executive has described the situation as “outrageous and beyond belief.”

Argentinean Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Dr Leandro Rodríguez Lastra, was found guilty of “breaching the duties of a public official” in 2019, after he refused to perform a late-term abortion two years previously in 2017.

The circumstances – He saved the woman’s life

Abortion is illegal in Argentina. It is only permitted during certain circumstances such as rape or if pregnancy is believed to pose a threat to the mother’s health.

In 2017, a 19-year-old woman, who was 20 weeks pregnant following a rape, was suffering extreme pain after consuming misoprostol, the first of two abortion drugs. She was brought to Dr. Rodríguez Lastra who found that she had developed a septic infection and was at risk of losing her uterus and may have died. He did not perform an abortion, determining that the procedure posed too great a risk to the life of the mother and the unborn child.

Dr. Lastra administered drugs to the patient to reverse the effects of the misoprostol. The 19-year old woman agreed with Dr Rodríguez Lastra. She later gave birth and placed the baby for adoption.

An obstetric expert testified that this diagnosis was correct, and that Dr Rodríguez Lastra saved the woman’s life.

However, the charges brought against Dr Rodríguez Lastra were pursued by pro-abortion activist, Marta Milesi, not the patient.

In 2019, Judge Álvaro Meynet, sentenced Dr. Lastra to 14 months imprisonment and 28 months disqualification from holding public office. Judge Meynet stated that because the doctor was not in the registry of conscientious objectors, he was duty bound to perform the abortion.

The sentence is expected to be appealed and over 130,000 people have signed the petition in support of Dr. Lastra.

Mr. Deighan said: 

“The situation in which this good doctor finds himself is beyond belief. The action undertaken by this doctor saved both the life of the mother and her child. This is what genuine life-saving healthcare looks like. Dr Rodríguez Lastra should be commended for his actions – the work of a doctor whose vocation is to uphold and save lives.

“The very fact that legal charges were brought forward by external pro-abortion activists, and not the patient concerned, illustrates clearly the deep hostility and hatred within the pro-abortion lobby, towards anyone with a pro-life position, even in an instance like this when the doctor has obviously acted in the best interests of the other and child.”

Abortion ideology discriminating against doctors

SPUC has been reporting on the crusade against medical professionals who do not comply with pro-abortion ideology.

Earlier in March, SPUC reported on how two nurses in Sweden were refused employment as midwives due to their pro-life beliefs.

In 2019, South African doctor, Jacques de Vos, faced charges of ‘unprofessional conduct’, after he told a patient that “a foetus is a human” and claimed that abortion kills a human.