SC justice will investigate conduct of judge who tried to induce raped girl to give up abortion

The TJ-SC (Court of Justice of Santa Catarina) will investigate the actions of Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer, who tried to induce an 11-year-old girl, a victim of rape, to give up performing a legal abortion. The fact was revealed this Monday (20) in a report by the website The Intercept Brasil.

In a note, the TJ reported that the Internal Affairs Department, the court’s body, has already initiated a request for measures at the administrative level for the proper investigation of the facts. The Judiciary also highlighted that the process is in secret of Justice, because it involves a minor, “circumstance that prevents its discussion in public”.

The girl has been kept in a shelter for more than a month, after facing resistance from judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer and prosecutor Mirela Dutra Alberton, who argued in a hearing against the procedure and in favor of the fetus’s life.

Also according to the report, the girl was attended by a medical team in early May 2022. The hospital would have denied the abortion, since the girl was in her 22nd week of pregnancy and the institution’s rules allowed the procedure until the 20th. week. The case then went to court. The Penal Code, however, allows the termination of pregnancy in case of rape, without imposing a limitation of weeks. In addition, medical reports in the case reveal that her life is at greater risk with each week of pregnancy.

Days later, the prosecutor of the Public Ministry of Santa Catarina Mirela Dutra Alberton filed a precautionary action asking for the institutional reception of the girl in a shelter. On May 9, the child participated in a court hearing along with the mother, the judge and the prosecutor. At the meeting, the group pledged to prevent the girl from being abused, but the judge and the prosecutor try to persuade her not to have an abortion.

“Would you bear to stay a little longer?”, asks the judge in the images. Prosecutor Alberton adds: “We only kept your belly for a week or two more, because, for him to have a chance to survive longer, he needs to take the medication for the lung to form completely”.

She goes on to suggest that abortion would make the 11-year-old see the baby agonize to death: “Instead of letting it die – because it is already a baby, it is already a child – instead of us taking it out of your belly and seeing him dying and dying, that’s what happens, because Brazil doesn’t agree with euthanasia, Brazil doesn’t have it, they won’t give him medicine… He’s going to be born crying, no [inaudível] medicine for him to die.”

At the hearing, the judge defends the thesis that abortion cannot be performed after the 22-week period of pregnancy has passed. The procedure after that period, argues Zimmer, “would be an authorization for murder.” The judge insists on the issue and has the following dialogue with the rape victim:

“What is your expectation regarding the baby? Do you want to see him born?”, asks the judge.

“No,” replies the child.

“You like to study?”


“Do you think your condition interferes with your study?”


“Do you have any special birthday wishes? If so, just ask. Want to name the baby?”


“Do you think the baby’s father would agree to give it up for adoption?” he asks, referring to the rapist.

“I don’t know,” says the girl.


In a note, Judge Joana Ribeiro informed that “she will not comment on excerpts from the aforementioned hearing, which were leaked in a criminal way”.

The position still criticizes the press release about the audience. “With the judgment of the STF for not recognizing the right to be forgotten, any manifestation on the matter to the press could impact even more and forever the life of a child. For this reason, it would be extremely important that this case continues to be dealt with by the appropriate instance, that is, by Justice.”

Prosecutor Mirela Dutra Alberton replied that the hospital refused to interrupt the pregnancy and that the doctors would act if there was a concrete situation of risk to the child’s life. “Due to this refusal by the hospital network, including documents that were also medically forwarded to the 2nd Prosecutor’s Office of Tijucas, at the time of filing the action, it was clear that the infant would not be subject to any concrete risk situation, which, in fact, has confirmed in its follow-up,” he said in a statement.


The Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) of Santa Catarina expressed concern about the case. “Among the situations in which Brazilian legislation authorizes the termination of pregnancy are sexual violence and the risk of life for the pregnant woman. Therefore, we are seeking, together with the bodies and institutions acting in the case, all the necessary information to, unconditionally, , protect and guarantee full protection to the life of the pregnant girl”, said the institution.

In an interview with R7, experts said that abortion in the case of rape does not need judicial authorization, but that doctors usually require such documentation. The other requirements are authorization from the pregnant woman (or legal representative) and that the pregnancy has occurred from the crime.

“In theory, it can happen at any time. [o aborto por causa de estupro], does not have a time, the law does not speak in time. What happens is that many doctors end up demanding that you have a judicial authorization, and this makes the pregnancy prolong”, says lawyer Matheus Falivene, a specialist in criminal law at USP (University of São Paulo).

However, lawyer Leonardo Pantaleão points out that there are judicial precedents that justify interpretations such as that of Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer. He points out, however, that in case of risk to the pregnant woman, there is no gestation period to prevent abortion and the precedent is not valid.

“It has been understood that [é possível o aborto] up to the 20th week — which may extend to the 22nd at the most — but provided that the fetus does not weigh more than 500 grams […] That doesn’t exist in law, it doesn’t exist in anything, it’s a matter of practice that ended up being established”, he says about the understanding.

About Abhishek Pratap

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