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Argentine court OK’s abortion in sex slave case

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s Supreme Court has ruled that a woman rescued from a prostitution ring must get the abortion she wants and chastised public officials who put her in the center of a political firestorm.

The ruling was celebrated Friday by women’s advocates in Buenos Aires, where the federal justice ministry has been protecting the 32-year-old in a refuge for freed sex slaves.

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Argentina allows legal abortions in rape cases or to protect a woman’s health. But politicians, doctors, and judges often continue to block them, despite a Supreme Court ruling in March that was supposed to remove barriers to abortion.

In this case, a judge intervened anyway, saying there was no proof of rape even though the woman had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution.

The high court’s ruling Thursday night urged public health officials to urgently end the pregnancy, which was entering its 10th week. The woman was expected to have undergone the procedure by early Friday, but her lawyers gave no details about that.

The ruling, signed by six of the seven justices, also blames Mayor Mauricio Macri and the judge who intervened, saying they revealed details that enabled antiabortion protesters to converge on the public hospital where she was awaiting the procedure, and later on her private home.

Her lawyer, Pablo Vicente, told the Associated Press that hospital staff gave her personal information to protesters, enabling them to gather outside her home. Rather than help his client, the hospital’s priest joined the protests against her, said Vicente, who sued the group and the hospital director, alleging that her privacy was violated and her life threatened.

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