L.C. (2007) – Peru
Raped Peruvian Teen Jumps Out of Window, Then Denied Abortion
L.C. was 13 years old and living in an impoverished region near Peru’s capital city of Lima. Starting in 2006, she was raped repeatedly by a 34-year-old man. When she discovered she was pregnant, he denied that the child could be his, so in desperation, she tried to commit suicide by jumping from a window. But she didn’t die. Instead, she lay on the ground for hours, paralyzed. When she was finally found and taken to the hospital, doctors refused to operate because she was pregnant, even after the family successfully petitioned a court for a therapeutic abortion. They made a personal decision to not carry out the abortion.
Abortion in Peru is legal when the woman’s life is at risk, or to “prevent grave and permanent damage to a woman’s health,” which was clearly the case with L.C. Because of the severity of her injuries, L.C. eventually suffered a miscarriage, but it wasn’t until several weeks later, and four months after she was told that she needed surgery, that she finally received the spinal procedure she needed. It was too late – the surgery had little to no effect and she remains paralyzed to this day.
In 2011, L.C. won a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ruled that Peru must amend its law to allow women to obtain an abortion in cases of rape and sexual assault; establish a mechanism to ensure the availability of those abortion services; and guarantee access to abortion services when a woman’s life or health is in danger.
Read more: Raped Peruvian Teen Jumps Out of Window, Then Denied Abortion
L.C.’s story (video, 5 min): LC: I Have To Tell What Happened To Me, by Center for Reproductive Rights
2011 Decision: L.C. v. Peru