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Argentine doctor under attack for refusing to perform a late-term abortion

Doctor Leandro Rodríguez Lastra was punished in March 2020 with a ban on practising his profession because he refused to perform a late-term abortion. The late-term abortion "solution" was developed by "women's organisations", seeing, in this case, a significant opportunity to implement their own programme. Following a legal battle, the gynaecologist regained the right to practice.


In 2017, a woman came to the hospital in the city of Cipolletti and demanded that her child be aborted, claiming that she had been a victim of rape. Her request was refused. Dr Rodriguez Lastra was in charge of the gynaecology department in Cipolletti at the time.

The woman told her doctor that she had received misoprostol from a “women’s organisation” and that she expected the doctor to kill her unborn child. The doctor was unable to judge whether the woman actually took the drug and prescribed her antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory drugs. The patient finally agreed to hospitalisation, and the child was born by caesarean section in the middle of the seventh month of pregnancy.

Rodriguez Lastra was not known for conscientious objection to the practice of abortion. The whole matter, however, triggered the interest of  “women’s organisations”, which accused him of deliberately delaying the medical procedure in order to prevent abortion. The prosecution fell on fertile ground as the man was disciplined and eventually disqualified from practicing.

The ongoing legal battle eventually resulted in a small victory. The authorities found that the disciplining process did not comply with appropriate procedures and time limits. In turn, the prohibition to practice the profession, imposed as a “preventive measure”, was lifted.


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