X (2007) – Colombia

Thirteen-year-old rape victim refused legal abortion, forced to give birth and suffer complications

As a consequence of rape, X, a thirteen-year-old child, became pregnant. She was refused a legal abortion by health service providers and subsequently by the justice system, which refused to recognize her right to access a legal abortion despite her compliance with the legal requirement to file a criminal complaint. X gave birth via an emergency caesarean section with complications. She was not treated for an STI (gonorrhea), which she caught from the man who attacked her, and she suffered from psychological trauma from the sexual violence and the mistreatment she was subjected to by the health system.  During this time, she attempted to commit suicide on three occasions. The girl and her mother (XX) were subjected to harassment and attacked on a number of occasions due to the criminal charges made against the aggressor, which only intensified when the baby was put up for adoption.

Women’s Link Worldwide requested precautionary measures before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to protect the girl and her mother from the risk of immediate and irreparable damage and violation of the rights to life, right to personal liberty, honor and dignity, right to equality, rights of the child and furthermore, the violation of a State’s due diligence rights to prevent, investigate and prosecute violence against women. The IACHR granted the precautionary measures requested and recommended that her right to mental and physical well-being be guaranteed and that protection be provided as required.  It is the first time in which the Inter-American Commission granted precautionary measures in a case related to the denial of a legal abortion.


Women’s Link Worldwide: “Colombia, 2011-08-17, X and XX v. Colombia, precautionary measures”

2009 court case in Spanish. (English Google translation)