The scandal of the judge who pressured an 11-year-old girl pregnant by rape not to abort

mother girl illustration


Illustration: Cecilia Tombesi

The scandal has been such that the National Council of Justice of Brazil has decided to take action on the matter.

The body, which has among its functions to clarify complaints related to the Judiciary, reported this Thursday that it will investigate the conduct of a judge who kept an 11-year-old girl – pregnant after being a rape victim – in a shelter to prevent her from having an abortion legal.

A video posted by Portal Ladybugs and by The Intercept At the beginning of this week, he brought the event to the fore, although the hearing took place on May 9.

In the video, the judge is seen Joana Ribeiro Zimmerof the Santa Catarina Court of Justice (TJSC), trying to convince the minor not to have an abortion.

“Regarding the baby, did you understand that if you make an interruption, the baby is born and we have to wait for that baby to die? Did you understand that? What is cruel? The baby is born and cries until it dies,” the judge tells him. .

At another point, he appears to pressure the girl to wait until she gives birth and put the baby up for adoption.

“What is your expectation in relation to the baby? Do you want to see it born?” the judge asks again.

After a negative response from the girl, he asks her again if she would like to “choose the baby’s name”.

He goes further and even asks if the rapist would agree to a potential adoption.

“Do you think the father of the baby would agree to give it up for adoption?” he can be heard saying.

The video went viral in Brazil and numerous voices questioned the judge’s actions, who announced that she was leaving the Children’s Court where she worked.

Ribeiro Zimmer was promoted and transferred to another city, although she stated that she had been appointed before the case came to light and that she decided to accept the new position.

The case

According to the Brazilian press, the girl allegedly suffered sexual abuse at the age of 10 by a member of her own household.

After being taken to a hospital in the city of Florianópolis, the doctors found that she was 22 weeks pregnant, so they denied her the abortion procedure and stated that they would only perform it with judicial authorization.

The Guardianship Council of the city where she lived when she was raped then contacted the Public Ministry of Santa Catarina (MPSC) which, in turn, submitted a request for the girl to be taken to a temporary shelter.

Joana Ribeiro Zimmer

Solon Soares/ALESC Agency

The judge sent the girl to a shelter to prevent her from having an abortion.

In the decision, Judge Ribeiro Zimmer said that the referral to the shelter, initially made at the request of the Children’s Court to protect the girl from the aggressor, was now aimed at “prevent abortion“.

The magistrate specified that the girl’s mother said in court that she wanted the good of her daughter, but considered that, if the young woman had not been received in a shelter, she would have had the forced abortion procedure by her mother.

The controversy

In the video of the hearing, the judge is heard on several occasions pressuring the minor to carry the pregnancy to term.

“How long would you agree to keep the baby in your womb so that we can finish forming it, give it the medicines so that its little lung matures, so that we can carry out this early extraction of the baby so that someone else can take care of it, if you want?” He says.

The judge even tries to convince the girl’s mother: she tells her that if her daughter gives birth, she could give the newborn up for adoption and generate joy in “30,000 couples who want the baby.”

“It will be a joy for them because they are not going through what I am going through,” replies the mother of the 11-year-old girl.

Photo of a young woman making a stop sign with her hand.

Getty Images

In an interview with the newspaper Catarinense Newspaper after the disclosure of the case, the judge said that she was not against abortion, but that she had made her decision based on a “concept” of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

“The word abortion has a concept and this concept is up to 22 weeks. This concept is from the WHO (World Health Organization) and the Ministry of Health. There is a term,” he said.

However, the BBC Brazil portal explains that in the three cases in which Brazilian law allows abortion (rape, risk of maternal life or fetal malformation incompatible with life), there is no gestational age limit.

In the interview, the magistrate refuted the criticism and said that she did not give more details so as not to expose the girl.

“For consistency, I prefer to be accused of everything to protect the girl. It is very cowardly that I want to defend myself, I have a thousand things to defend myself, but it is very cowardly that I try to defend myself and expose the girl, the girl’s mother , to the family. So I prefer to bear this pressure alone,” she said.

The judge indicated that she would not give more details either because, after the case was made public, there was “risk to her life” and continuing to provide information could generate additional expenses for the court, such as having to provide her with bodyguards.

“There is another issue, which is institutional security, my data was made public and my life is already at risk. So, there is one more responsibility of not generating a cost for the court by having to put security guards. I can go around talking and the court has to keep paying the bodyguards,” he said.

Ribeiro Zimmer worked in the Children and Youth area since 2004 and was promoted to a commercial court in the Itajaí Valley area.

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